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GENERAL JOSEPH W. STILWELL 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 




STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 




ami 

Riley Sunderland 




CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY 
UNITED STATES ARMY 
WASHINGTON, D. C, 1987 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 53-60349 



First Printed 1953— CM H Pub 9-1 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Priming Office 
Washington, D.C 2M02 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor 

Adviwry Committee 



James P Baxter 
President, Williams College 

Henry S. Commagcr 
Columbia University 

Douglas S, Freeman 
Richmond News Lradcr 

Pendleton Her 
Social Science Research ' 

John D. Hicks 
University of California 



WUham T Hutchinson 
University of Chicago 

S. L A. Marshall 
Detroit News 

E. Dwight Salmon 
Amherst College 

Col, Thomas D, Stamps 
United States Military Academy 

Charles S. Sydnor 
Duke University 



Charles H. Taykx 
Harvard University 



Office of tht Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward, Chief 



Chief Historian 
Chief, War Histories Division 
Chief, Editorial and Publication Division 
Chief, Editorial Branch 
Chief, Cartographic Branch 



Kent Roberts Greenfield 
Col. George G, O'Connor 
Col. Breckinridge A. Day 
Joseph R. Friedman 
Wscvolod Aglaimoff 
Capt Kenneth E. Hunter 



. . . to Those Who Served 



Foreword 



Reading the history of the China-Burma-India Theater will be an eye 
opener and a lesson to those who, in the future, have to deal with allies in far 
distant lands about whom so much should be known and so little is. 

Contemporary history is limited in its vision, as indeed is all history, inso- 
far as the records are limited. This history is no exception; the records used are 
mainly of U.S. Army origin. However, time flies and experience of the past is 
essential to wisdom in the future. To wait for additional evidence might deny 
pertinent information to those who need it now. Moreover, the records turned 
up by the authors of this book are exceptionally rich. 

A careful reading of this volume will emphasize the necessity on the part 
of the leading participants in a combined venture to understand the charac- 
teristics and over-all objectives of the nations as well as the individuals con- 
cerned in the endeavor. If such an understanding is present, and if due weight 
is given it by those involved in negotiations as well as in the execution of the 
plans, the better will be the result. The degree to which this understanding 
was achieved by the leading participants is left for the reader to decide. 

Decisions, to be sound, must perforce be based on up-to-date facts. The 
danger of making them from information supplied from not too well informed 
sources, and without information that could readily have been brought to bear, 
is self-evident. 

While still in the service, the authors were sent to Asia in the summer of 
1945 to join the Historical Sections of the India-Burma and the China Thea- 
ters. Riley Sunderland went to New Delhi, India, and Charles F. Romanus to 
Chungking, China. Each spent about a year in his respective post before work 
was begun on this volume. 

Washington, D. C. 
10 March 1952 

ORLANDO WARD 
Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 
Chief of Military History 



ix 



Preface 



The United States Army Forces in the China, Burma and India Theater 
were originally planned as a task force to support China. They were largely 
based on India; only a small fraction of their strength was in China itself. In 
China, the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek, was Supreme Commander, China 
Theater. In India, Gen. Sir Archibald P. Wavell had a comparable role and title. 
The two portions of the U.S. forces— in India and China— were separated by 
Japanese-occupied Burma. The U.S. theater commander had two major roles, 
in that he was an American theater commander and also chief of the Gen- 
eralissimo's Allied staff for China Theater. The command situation was thus 
most complex. More complications were provided by the differing views on 
strategy held by the United States, the Republic of China, and the British 
Commonwealth. 

After a few months' research, the authors concluded that, without some 
understanding of the roles played by the President and the Joint and Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, the full story could not be told. They therefore examined the 
relevant files of the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, of the Joint and Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, of the Secretary of War, of the Operations Division of the War 
Department, and of the War Department Classified Message Center. 

The authors are greatly indebted to many of the participants in the events 
described in the text who were willing to offer comment and criticism on sev- 
eral drafts of the manuscript: Col. Harry S. Aldrich, Brig. Gen. Edward H. 
Alexander, Col. Haydon L. Boatner, Lt. Gen. George H. Brett, Col. Frank 
Dorn, Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, Col. Henry W. T Eglin, General of the Army 
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Col. Benjamin G. Ferris, Col. Arcadi Gluckman, Maj. 
Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, the Hon. Nelson T. Johnson, Maj. Gen. Edward E. 
MacMorland, Brig. Gen. John Magruder, Maj. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, Maj. 
Gen. Sherman Miles, Lt. Gen. Eugene Reybold, Col. Frank N. Roberts, Maj. 
Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, Admiral Harold R. Stark, 
and Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer. These men are of course not responsible 
for any errors of fact or interpretation in the pages following. 

The authors have been greatly aided by and are grateful for the opportunity 
to discuss the history of the China-Burma-India Theaters with Colonel 
Aldrich, Colonel Dorn, General Drum, Colonel Gluckman, General Hearn, 
Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, Mr. Johnson, General MacMorland, General 
Magruder, General of the Army George C. Marshall, General Merrill, Mr. 



William D. Pawley, Colonel Roberts, Admiral Stark, and General Wedemeyer. 

The authors have pitched their narrative at the level of the U.S. theater 
headquarters. As such, it is a contribution to a better understanding of the 
American effort in Asia, 1941-1946, and to the study of Sino- American rela- 
tions in the same period; it is not a definitive history of the war in Asia. The 
U.S. Air Force is telling its story in many volumes written from its own point 
of view. So, too, are the technical services, such as the Quartermaster, Ord- 
nance, Transportation, Medical, etc. The British official history is being 
prepared. The Chinese may someday give their side. From these several sources, 
some historian may ultimately produce a fairly complete history of the war in 
Asia. The present volume initiates a reconnaissance of part of the area the 
future historian must cross. 

The authors' decision to prepare their history in this manner reflects their 
mission, that of preparing the history of a U.S. Army theater of operations, a 
decision further reinforced by the nature of the available sources and the limits 
of time and funds. 

As the authors' familiarity with their subject increased, and as more and 
more papers of the most private nature were opened to them, they concluded 
that the relations of the theater commander to the Chinese were central to any 
story of the U.S. Army's efforts in China, Burma, and India. Thanks to Mrs. 
Joseph W. Stilwell and Mr. Robert E. Sherwood, a great quantity of material 
from the Stilwell and Hopkins Papers for the period in which General Stilwell 
commanded the China, Burma and' India Theater was made available. Much 
of the material in Book VII of the Hopkins Papers, though it goes far to 
explain President Roosevelt's attitude toward China in 1942 and 1943, has not 
been included in this volume, because the subject seems one for historians of 
the Presidency. 

The authors have been greatly assisted by collections of private papers 
made available by General Drum, General MacMorland, Colonel Aldrich, Mr. 
Pawley, and General Hurley. 

Treated at length in this volume are the proposals of General Stilwell to 
the National Government of the Republic of China in the execution of his 
orders from the War Department to "support China" and to assist in "improv- 
ing the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army." Such Chinese replies as were 
given to Stilwell are also included. Other volumes will cover in full the 1944 
command crisis and the work of General Wedemeyer as Commanding General, 
U.S. Forces, China Theater, 1944-1946. 

Nothing pertinent to General StilwelPs conduct of his mission has been 
omitted. The authors are aware of the issues presented by the civil war in 
China. On the question of General Stilwell's relations to the Chinese Com- 
munists the evidence is almost entirely negative. After examining Stilwell's 
papers both private and public the authors are convinced that his interest in 



xii 



the Chinese Communists was minor and his relations with them casual and 
incidental. General Stilwell's interests in China centered on his attempt to 
carry out the War Department orders to reform the Chinese Army to a pass- 
able level of efficiency. His differences with other personages in China revolved 
around the issue of Army reform. That portion of Stilwell's wartime journals 
published as The Stilwell Papers and this and the succeeding volume, with but 
two exceptions, tell the full story of Stilwell's relations with and opinions of 
the Chinese Communists so far as it has been preserved by the documents and 
the persons consulted by the authors. 

The exceptions, omitted from the text only because they contribute nothing 
new to an understanding of Stilwell's mission to China, are these. (1) At the 
Washington Conference of May 1943 General Stilwell wrote a note to himself 
to the effect that the United Front of Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Com- 
munists should be restored. The context suggests, though not strongly, that 
Stilwell meant a political united front. The topic then disappears from his 
writings. (2) On the same visit to Washington he described the Chinese Com- 
munist to the then Army Chief of Staff, General Marshall, as a man who 
wanted taxes cut to a bearable level. 

Like most professional soldiers of the major powers, Stilwell had little 
interest in political and social problems, foreign or domestic. From a most 
conservative background in upstate New York, Stilwell entered the U.S. Mili- 
tary Academy, after which he spent his life in the regular service. He detested 
sham and pretense of whatever variety, but he was not a radical, and his efforts 
to reform the Chinese were limited to "improving the combat efficiency of the 
Chinese Army," as the War Department had ordered him. 

Among the authors' professional colleagues, special thanks are due to Lt. 
Grace Person Hayes, USN, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Historical Section. Lieu- 
tenant Hayes read and commented on almost every page of the manuscript. Capt. 
Tracy B. Kittredge, USN, of the same office, was most helpful. Dr. Lee Bowen, 
of the Air Force historians, gave generously of his time and effort. Maj. Charles 
F. Byars, USAF, gave the first chapters his careful attention. Miss Alice Miller, 
formerly of the Registered Documents Section, Plans and Operations Division, 
guided the authors through the intricate record of the war's higher direction. 
Miss Miller gave many hours of her time to the authors and they are greatly 
indebted to her. The authors are grateful to Miss Margaret E. Tackley for the 
excellent work she did in selecting the photographs for the volume. The editor 
of the volume, Miss Ruth Stout, performed her task with high professional 
skill. The copy-editing duties were discharged most capably by Miss Gay 
Morenus. 

From September 1948 to October 1950 the authors were aided by Mrs. 
Jacqueline Perry Griffin, research assistant. Mrs. Griffin assembled the appa- 
ratus of documentation and citation and prepared the manuscript of the first 



xiii 



seven chapters. In research, she studied the operations of Southeast Asia Com- 
mand. Her good judgment, narrative skill, and editorial touch have greatly 
improved the text. 

Mrs. Dorothy Campbell Liles, research assistant, prepared the manuscript 
of Chapters VIII, IX, and X and verified quotations and citations. Mrs. Elaine 
Conroy Deane assumed many of the duties of research assistant in addition to 
normal secretarial tasks. Miss Mildred Bucan, Miss Kay Atema, Miss Alfa 
Staken, Miss Margaret Reardon, and Miss Marion R. Reidy gave invaluable 
secretarial and stenographic help. 

CHARLES F. ROMANUS 
Washington, D. C. RILEY SUNDERLAND 

10 March 1952 



xiv 



Contents 

PART ONE 

The United States and China Become Allies 

Chapter Page 

I. AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 3 

China Seeks U.S. Aid 7 

Origins of Lend-Least Aid for China 13 

Putting Air Power in China: The AVG and Currie's Lend-Least 

Program 17 

The Indochina Crisis and Aid to China 21 

The Thirty Division Program 25 

Creation of the American Military Mission to China {AMMISCA) . 27 

AMMISCA Receives Its Orders 29 

The Chinese Army, Fall 1941 32 

The Generalissimo Warns of Peril 37 

AMMISCA' s Appraisal of the Thirty Division Program .... 41 

AMMISCA, Lend-Lease, and the Line of Communications ... 44 

Summary 48 

II. WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER AND A U.S. TASK 

FORCE TO CHINA 50 

The Chungking Conferences 52 

The Tulsa Incident 57 

The Creation of an Allied China Theater 61 

The U.S. Role: A Second Mission or a Theater? 63 

Selection of Stilwell and His Directive for China 70 

Moving Toward a Larger Concept 76 

Summary 80 

III. STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 81 

The Command Situation, China-Burma-India, March 1942 ... 86 

Early U.S. Logistical and Administrative Problems 90 

Stilwell' s First Problems 93 

Darkening Prospects for Burma's Defenders 99 

The Chinese Expeditionary Force 103 

The Chinese Begin Their Fight 105 

The Loss of Air Cover 109 

The AVG Keeps Up the Fight 112 

The Attempts To Reinforce 114 

Summary 117 



Chapter Pagi 

IV. CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 118 

The Pyinmana Plan and the Irrawaddy Front 121 

The Collapse of the Irrawaddy Front 125 

The Japanese Drive to Lashio 127 

Attempts to Prevent the Debacle 132 

Plans for the Future 135 

The Evacuation of Burma 138 

The Chinese Withdrawal 140 

Summary 148 

PART TWO 

Plans for Breaking the Blockade of China (May 1942-March 1943) 

V. STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED BY AN ULTIMATUM 151 

St il well's Proposals To Reform the Chinese Army 152 

Beginnings of Trouble 157 

Air Transport Disappoints the Chinese 163 

Soong's Warning 167 

The Generalissimo' s Anger 169 

Stilwell's Staff and Command Roles Upheld 173 

Moving Toward a Compromise 177 

The Generalissimo Modifies His Demands 180 

Planning the Air War in China Theater 187 

Summary 190 

VI. U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE AND PREPARE FOR NEW TASKS 191 
Expansion of Headquarters , U.S. Army Forces, CBI, July-Decem- 
ber 1942 192 

Tenth Air Force Plans and Organisation 198 

The Services of Supply: The Indian Base 202 

First Plans and the Karachi Area 204 

SOS Expands Across India Into China 206 

Local Procurement 207 

The Reciprocal Aid System at Work 209 

Lend- Lease Responsibilities 211 

Ramgarh Training Center 212 

Operation of Ramgarh Training Center 214 

Summary 220 

VII. THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 222 

U.S. Answer to the Three Demands 222 

The October Negotiations 225 

The Generalissimo Will Be Ready 229 

Japanese Plans and Dispositions in Burma 232 

Preparations in China for the Offensive 234 

Plans and Preparations in India 241 

More Than JCS Support Required 245 

The Emergence of the Chennault Plan 250 

The Chinese Hesitate 254 

The Generalissimo Says No 258 

Summary 261 

xv i 



Chapter Page 

VIII. ANAKIM MARKS TIME 262 

Talks About Reform Continue 262 

Administrative Changes for U.S. Forces 266 

The Arnold-S omervell-Dill Mission 269 

The Conferences in Chungking and Calcutta 274 

The President Overrules Marshall and Stilwell 277 

Moving Toward an Expanded Air Effort in China 283 

Obstacles in Chennault's Path 288 

U.S. Forces Establish Training Centers for Y-Force 292 

Marshaling the Yunnan Force 296 

British Operations and ANAKIM 302 

American Preparations in India-Burma 306 

Summary 310 



PART THREE 

U.S. Air Power Given the Stellar Role in China Theater 

IX. AIR POWER RATHER THAN ARMY REFORM 313 

The Air War Begins Over Burma 314 

Chiang Promises To Hold East China 317 

Chennault and Stilwell Present Their Cases 320 

The President's Decision 324 

TRIDENT Decision To Take North Burma 327 

Reactions to TRIDENT 333 

The Generalissimo Weighs TRIDENT 335 

Expediting the ATC Airfield Program 341 

Improving Chennault 1 s Position 345 

Stilwell Shakes Up the Rear Echelon 347 

Apathy in Yunnan 350 

Japanese Reactions to Allied Preparations 353 

Summary 354 

X. PUTTING WEIGHT BEHIND THE TRIDENT DECISIONS . 355 

Allied Discussions of Southeast Asia Command 355 

The QUADRANT Conference, Quebec, 19-24 August 1943 .... 357 

Planning Logistical Support 360 

SEAC's Organization and Directive 363 

Stilwell Resumes His Chief of Staff Role 367 

Soong Attempts To Have Stilwell Recalled 374 

Stilwell Restored to Favor 376 

Questions of Boundary and Command 379 

Somervell' s Trip to India 381 

"What More Can I Do?" 384 

Summary 385 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 390 

GLOSSARY 400 

INDEX 405 

xvii 



Charts 

No. Page 

1. Division of Allied Command Responsibilities in Southeast Asia: March- 

April 1942 88 

2. Organization of U.S. Army Forces in China-Burma-India: December 

1942 195 

3. Organization of Chinese Infantry Regiments 1942 236 

4. Stilwell's Proposed Reorganization of a Chinese Infantry Regiment: 1942 237 

5. Lend-Lease Contribution to Reorganized Chinese Regiments: 1942. . . 238 

6. Hump Tonnage Carried by All Carriers in India-China: 1943 284 

7. Organization of Chinese Yunnan Force (Y-Force): March-April 1943 . 297 

8. Comparison of Fourteenth Air Force Claims and Official Assessment of 

Japanese Shipping Sunk by Fourteenth Air Force: August 1942- 

December 1943 (Cumulative) 338 

Tables 

1. Initial Programing of Lend-Lease Funds for China: April 1941 ... 16 

2. Essential Ordnance Requirements Requested as Lend-Lease for China . . 17 

3. Lend-Lease Supplies Shipped to China: May 1941-April 1942 49 

4. Actual and Projected Deliveries of Lend-Lease Equipment Under the 

Chinese Emergency Air Transport Program: May-October 1942 . . . 161 

5- Increase in Personnel and Equipment Under Proposed Reorganization of 

Chinese Infantry Regiment : 1942 238 

6. Chinese Personnel Requirements for Y-Force: 23 March 1943 300 

Maps 

1. Japanese Plan, December 1941 54 

2. Burma Inside back cover 

3. Japanese Advance in Burma, 20 January-19 March 1942 83 

4. Japanese Conquest of Central Burma, April 1942 122 

5. Stilwell's Plan, July 1942 183 

6. Transportation System, 1942-1943 Inside back cover 



xviii 



Illustrations 

Page 

Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell Frontispiece 

Gen. George C. Marshall 72 

Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave 82 

Survivors of Japanese Air Attack Ill 

Fighter Planes, P-43's . 115 

Conference at Maymyo, Burma 119 

Withdrawal From Burma 144 

Notes for the G-mo 155 

Snow-capped Mountain Peaks of the Himalayas 166 

Brig. Gen. Claire L. Chennault 189 

Ramgarh Training Center, 1942 216 

Staff Discussion at Ramgarh Training Center, 1942 219 

Services of Supply Build-up 243 

Conference at New Delhi, India 273 

Aircraft of Tenth Air Force, 1942 316 

Flying Tigers 339 

Maj. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler 343 

Construction Work on the Ledo Road, 1943 349 

Vice-Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten 365 



The Frontispiece is a photographic copy of an oil 
painting by Howard E. Smith. The painting is 
a part of the memorial collection at West Point. 

The photographs are from the files 
of the Department of Defense. 



xix 



PART ONE 



THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA 
BECOME ALLIES 



CHAPTER I 



Aid to China Involves 
the U.S. Army 

The geographic circumstance that placed China across the Pacific Ocean 
from the United States, the history and culture that gave it some 400,000,000 
industrious, clever, prolific people of an ancient civilization, and the disorders 
that vexed the Chinese land as its people sought to adapt themselves to the 
industrial ways and materialist culture of the West long combined to make 
China an object of peculiar interest and concern to the people and Government 
of the United States. Itself the outstanding example of revolt against European 
colonialism, the United States of America was sympathetic to the efforts of 
the Chinese to work out their destiny in their own way and supported them 
as the situation permitted. 

The United States could not believe that the possession of modern indus- 
trial techniques by European states and the one Oriental nation successfully 
imitating them, Japan, conferred the right to dispose of the freedom and patri- 
mony of Asia and considered that the long-range interests of the United States 
were best served by the support of Asiatic nationalism. As the twentieth 
century progressed, Asiatic nationalism began to rise ever closer to the flood 
stage. Large-scale fighting threatened Asia as Japan, the latecomer to indus- 
trialism, started to repeat, at China's expense, the imperialist behavior of her 
Western tutors. Japan's actions seemed contrary to the course and spirit of 
international political developments of the 1920's; they threatened to upset 
the status quo in the Pacific in a manner dangerous to American security, and 
so the United States, fearing the ultimate menace, moved ever closer to open 
support of China, which was immediately menaced. 

The history of Japanese efforts to establish a special position for the 
Japanese Empire in China is far too long to detail here. China's markets and 
resources and the absence for many years of a strong central government 
seemed to the Japanese to offer natural and obvious opportunities, while the 
undisciplined troops of Chinese war lords on occasion subjected Japanese citi- 
zens to treatment of the sort to which, fifty years before, Japan's western 
mentors had habitually responded by the dispatch of gunboats. So there were 



4 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



incidents, diplomatic notes, and diplomatic crises. Lending hope for the future, 
the period 1922-1930 after World War I brought forth liberal cabinets in Japan 
which signed treaties pledging their nation to allow China the chance to work 
out her destiny in her own way. Then came the Great Depression of the 
thirties. Japan's overseas markets contracted and unrest grew. The most power- 
ful voices of protest in Japan came from factions allied to, or even part of, the 
Japanese Army. These sought a remedy for Japan's troubles at home in seizing 
the raw materials and monopolizing the markets of China and her northern 
possession, Manchuria. 

The Japanese Army's continental adventure began 18 September 1931 when 
a carefully staged incident near Mukden, Manchuria, offered the pretext under 
which the Japanese Army, while the Japanese Foreign Office offered polite 
regrets and promises that soon proved empty, soon overran all Manchuria. 
The United States was then under Republican administration. President Herbert 
C. Hoover was a man of peace, profoundly adverse to the United States' taking 
any course in the Pacific, in restraint of Japan, that might mean war. The rest of 
the Great Powers, for diverse reasons, were equally reluctant to undertake 
vigorous action. 

Faced with a situation in which military and economic sanctions, by 
European powers or the United States or both, were out of the question, Mr. 
Hoover's Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson, suggested that the United 
States adopt a policy of not recognizing the legality of any changes in Asia 
that the Japanese might effect by force. To Mr. Stimson, announcement of the 
policy on 7 January 1932 was a reassertion of cherished American convictions 
and a notice to the Chinese that the United States would not condone viola- 
tions of China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 1 The note had no 
discernible effect on the Japanese, but it placed on record for all to see that 
American and Japanese interests, as defined by the two governments, were 
clashing and identified Stimson as a firm opponent of Japanese aggression in 
the Far East. 

Having separated Manchuria from China the Japanese found themselves 
faced by a Chinese boycott. One of the few means of retaliation open to China, 
the boycott was a severe blow to Japan's trade in one of her principal markets. 
Chinese indignation was steadily rising and there were attacks on Japanese 
residents in China. The Japanese had occupied Manchuria on less provocation. 
On 28 January 1932 they landed an expeditionary force in Shanghai. Heavy 
fighting followed in which for the first time the Chinese gave a good account 
of themselves against the Japanese. World opinion, governmental and public, 

1 Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 
1947), Ch. IX. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



5 



quickly hardened, and in May 1932 the Japanese withdrew their forces from 
Shanghai. An uneasy peace followed in Asia. 

In the years that followed there were great changes in China and the 
United States. In the United States, the Democratic administration of Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt took office in March 1933. In China, the Chinese gave the 
appearance of rapidly and steadily coalescing into a unified state. Their finances 
improved, their manufactures increased, and peace and stability gradually 
spread through the land as the Nationalist Government of the Republic of 
China, controlled by the Kuomintang Party under Generalissimo Chiang 
Kai-shek, brought one after another of the war lords to heel and attracted more 
and xnore Chinese to its banner. By 1937 there was but one major dissident 
element, the Chinese Communists. Possessed of their own small army, they 
were compressed into the far northwest of China. Generalissimo Chiang was 
bitterly opposed to them and by one expedition after another had steadily 
whittled away their territory. 

The Japanese did not watch the unification and progress of China with 
complacence. In the four and a half years from 1932 to summer 1937 there 
were incidents on China's Manchurian and Mongolian frontiers; Japanese 
troop movements and maneuvers involved the Japanese garrisons, which treaty 
rights permitted in north China; Japanese naval landing parties went ashore 
at Hankow, Pakhoi, Tsingtao, and a suburb of Shanghai; and within Japan the 
forces favoring aggressive policies in Asia grew steadily in strength. The 
behavior of the Japanese toward China greatly irritated Chinese opinion, which 
was growing ever more nationalistic, and there was increasing popular pressure 
on the Chinese Government to resist Japan. 

Japanese imperialists and Chinese Communists posed a grave problem for 
the Generalissimo. The resources of China's new government did not permit 
him to deal with both simultaneously. The solution that he preferred, and that 
he sought to follow, was to crush the Communists while opposing Japan by 
diplomacy alone. This did not meet with general approval. Chinese opinion 
generally was outraged by the Japanese, and since the articulate elements in 
China were either sincerely nationalist or thought it politic to profess such 
sentiments, it may well be that many Chinese overrated their resources and 
underestimated their enemy's. Be that as it may, in December 1936 a group 
of Chinese led by Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang kidnapped the Generalissimo. 
To their captive, they insisted that he lead both Nationalists and Communists 
into a United Front, which would stand firm against the Japanese. The 
Generalissimo won his freedom by agreeing, and honored his bargain. The 
next Japanese move meant large-scale hostilities. 

On 8 July 1937 Japanese troops attacked a Chinese garrison near Peiping, 
in north China. At first a local incident, it spread as the Japanese manifested an 
aggressive, intransigent attitude, while the Chinese, having already lost 



6 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Manchuria and seen their control of north China whittled away, showed no 
disposition to yield further. Military operations on the grand scale were soon 
under way with the national forces supporting the provincial troops who were 
first involved. The Nationalist Government of the Republic of China had tried 
to create a modern army, for only thus could it continue to dominate China's 
factions and provinces and hope to resist further Japanese encroachments on 
Chinese territory. 

For military advice and martial gear the Kuomintang had turned to 
Germany, Italy, and Russia, not to the United States, whose Army in the 
thirties was unimpressive. By 1937 the skilled and highly regarded German 
Military Mission (1928-38) had brought about thirty divisions, loyal to 
Chiang Kai-shek, to a standard of efficiency never before known in China. 2 
These troops fought in the defense of the lower Yangtze valley, but by 1939 
the Japanese possessed the lines of communications, the seaports, and the key 
cities of China, including the capital, Nanking. 

As the Chinese fell back into the interior, the Chinese and sympathetic 
observers released accounts to the Western world claiming that the Chinese 
had lost only because they lacked modern arms. Neither the German Mission, 
which had trained and advised the best Chinese divisions, nor Col. Joseph W. 
Stilwell, the American Military Attache (1935-39), agreed with the press 
releases. According to their reports, the Chinese committed basic military 
errors: neglect of fundamental principles of strategy and tactics; improper use 
of supporting weapons; indifference to military intelligence; inability to adopt 
sound command and staff procedures; failure to establish a communications 
net; and failure to keep vehicles and weapons in operating condition. 

After the capture of Canton and Hankow in October 1938, the Japanese 
paused to consolidate their positions. The Chinese seized the opportunity to 
raise a series of obstacles ahead of the river lines and mountain barriers of west 
and south China. Roads were trenched, railways dismantled, bridges removed, 
ferry sites destroyed, and mountain passes barricaded to give the Chinese a 
buffer from fifty to one hundred miles wide. Walled towns attracted remnants 
of the national divisions and housed makeshift arsenals. Chungking became 
the seat of the Generalissimo's wartime government. A stalemate settled over 
the vast front, broken by sporadic Japanese forays to disperse Chinese troop 
concentrations and, in 1939, by two abortive Chinese offensives which could 
not gain enough momentum. Both sides engaged in diplomatic maneuvering, 
with each other and with possible allies. Nationalist China sought closer ties 
with Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Japan drew closer 

2 (1) MA Rpts: Maj John Magruder, 20 Dec 26-15 Mar 30; Col Nelson E. Margetts, 
16 Mar 30-2 Mar 32; Lt Col Walter S. Drysdale, 3 Mar 32-7 Jul 35; Col Joseph W. Stilwell, 
8 Jul 35-30 Apr 39; Maj William Mayer, 13 Jun 39-18 Aug 42. National Archives. (2) Selected 
papers of the German Military Mission. Folder 2009-255, National Archives. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE US. ARMY 



co heavily armed and increasingly aggressive Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, 
the Axis Powers. Opportunities for Japanese aggrandizement in Asia at the 
expense of European colonial powers developed steadily as war clouds in 
Europe gathered. In China, the Japanese reorganized their twenty-three divi- 
sions and twenty independent mixed brigades on a garrison basis in order to 
free mobile troops lor service elsewhere. In March 1940 the Japanese installed 
Wang Ching-wei's puppet regime in Nanking, but his defection from the 
Nationalist cause had no decisive result/ 

China Seeks U.S, Aid 

War in Europe after September 1939 made it unlikely that European powers 
friendly to China could spare arms and technical assistance, so the Chinese 
Governmenr approached the United States, whose sympathy for it was openly 
manifested by government and people alike,, though not on a scale to commit 
the United States to intervention in the Sino-Japanese conflict. In two loans 
the American Export-Import Bank lent the Chinese-owned Universal Trading 
Corporation $45,000,000, its use restricted to purchase of civilian supplies, 4 

Following rhe occupation of Poland by German and Russian armies in 
September 1939 there was a period of undeclared truce in Europe, called at the 
time the "phony war." War was real enough at sea, but on land, save in 
Finland where the Russians struck to extend their borders, there was quiet. 
Then on 9 April 1940, without warning, the Germans attacked Norway and 
Denmark. The long training and preparation of the Germans carried ail before 
them, and the campaign in Norway was obviously in its final stages when on 
10 May 1940 the Germans struck again, this time against Holland, Belgium, 
and France, the first two of them declared neutrals. Being then at the peak of 
their power, the German Army and Air Force overran France and the Low 
Countries in six weeks. The British Expeditionary Force, plus a considerable 
number of Frenchmen, was successfully withdrawn through Dunkercjue 
harbor, but this deliverance, though hopeful for the future, could not obscure 
the fact that Adolf Hitler's Germany was master of Europe from the Pyrenees 
ro North Cape, from the Atlantic to the Polish marshes, on the far side ot 
which Russia stood in strange, uneasy partnership. Italy joined Germany in 
the closing days of the fight, and there seemed every prospect that Japan might 
soon do rhe same and seize the chance of taking French. British, and Dutch 

Rpts and selected papers tited jn. 2.} {2) MA Rpts, Stilwell, Folders 2657-H— 
2279-1-4, National Archives. ( i) Japanese Studies in World War II ( her carter, Japanese Study — >, 
76, China Ex peditionary Army Operati ons in China and Manchuria, 1937-45, and 70. Gen Rc/Br, 
OCMH. (See lBibliographical NoteXI 

4 Backgroun^™drn^nTnese™iOflnsTs well as a summary of Sinn-American agencies involved in 
the transactions in Memo, BR. 7, Far Eastern Sec. Co ordinator of information, sub: American 
Aid to China. (Hereafter. American Aid to China.) AG(AMMISCA) 4003295, Job-U, 
HRS DRB AGO. 



8 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



possessions in Asia. Britain stood alone, and the United States had to make 
decisions of the utmost gravity. 

In June 1940 Mr. T. V. Soong 5 visited the United States to ask for arms 
and more credits. Two factors weighed heavily in favor of a loan to China for 
arms. U.S. sympathy lay with China's cause and American planners, in apprais- 
ing the possibility and probable course of a conflict with Japan, recognized the 
advantages for the United States in having China's manpower and geographic 
position as an aid. However, the United States was most anxious not to pro- 
voke Japan to ally herself with Germany since that alliance would further 
jeopardize England's already desperate position. Moreover, since Germany had 
just overrun western Europe to the English Channel, the United States itself 
seemed in danger, and the American munitions stock was not great enough to 
provide for China after American needs were met and after the United States 
supported Great Britain, whose plight seemed most directly to affect the 
United States. Furthermore, it was not feasible to diminish the U.S. stockpile 
in order to send supplies to China since materiel previously sent was not reach- 
ing the fronts because lines of communications were inadequate for 
forwarding it. 6 

Two blows fell hard on Chinese morale with the advent of autumn. The 
first was the entrance of the Japanese into northern Indochina on 23 Sep- 
tember, by agreement with the Government of Unoccupied France. Then, four 
days later, Japan, Germany, and Italy signed a pact whose wording suggested 
they would join in offensive action against the British Commonwealth and 
the United States. To encourage the dejected Chinese, the United States gave 
a third credit of $25,000,000 to China. But the loan did not answer China's 
pleas for arms, and in October the Chinese renewed their requests. They were 
spurred on by the fact that the Japanese occupation of northern Indochina 
closed the Yunnan-Indochina Railway, leaving the Burma Road, which 
extended from Chungking to the terminus of the Burma Railways, Lashio, 
Burma, as China's sole supply link with the outside world. The Burma Road, 
though maladministration and corruption had reduced its inherently low 
capacity, now had great symbolic value as China's last tie with freedom. That 
summer the sorely tried British had closed the Lashio terminal for three 

5 Mr. Soong, brother-in-law of the Generalissimo, received his bachelor's degree from Harvard 
in 1915. Following graduate work at Columbia, he returned to China. Showing great aptitude for 
finance, Soong became Minister of Finance in the Sun Yat-sen regime in Canton 
in 1925. From 1930 to 1933 he was governor of the Central Bank of China. Soong then became 
chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Bank of China. Shortly after the beginning 
of war in the Pacific on 23 December 1941, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

6 (1) Capt Tracy B. Kittredge, USNR, draft MS, United States-British Naval Co-operation, 
1940-1945, III, D, 87; III, D, 302-03; IV, D, 247, n. 1; IV, A, 297. JCS Hist Sec. (2) Studies 
of China's geographic position and manpower as early as January 1940 appended to JB Paper 
355 (Ser 691), 9 Jul 41. AG (AMMISCA) 336.2. (3) WPD Study 4389, Cases 1-28, Sec 1, 
A47-30, contains staff papers on which the Joint Board Paper is based. (4) Robert E. Sherwood, 
Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York, 1949), p. 150. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



9 



months to placate the Japanese. Although the Burma Road was reopened on 
10 October 1940, the Chinese and British saw the events of September bring- 
ing the Japanese ever closer to it, and there was little Britain could do to keep 
the Japanese out of Burma. 7 

On 18 October 1940 the Generalissimo described his problems and made 
his proposals to the U.S. Ambassador, Mr. Nelson T. Johnson. The 
Generalissimo admitted that the Japanese blockade had weakened China's 
economy and hurt public morale. The Chinese Communists were taking 
advantage of the situation, and by his own admission the Generalissimo feared 
them more than he feared the Japanese. (It must be recalled that this was the 
era of the Russo-German nonaggression pact of 1939, and that the Russian 
and German Foreign Ministers were soon to meet and debate the parceling out 
of the Middle East.) The Generalissimo was anxious lest the Japanese seize 
Singapore or cut the Burma Road. Before either of these disasters, China must 
have economic aid plus numbers of U.S. aircraft manned by American volun- 
teers. Unless this aid came soon, China might collapse. If it came in time, the 
internal situation would be restored and the Japanese forestalled. The aircraft 
would also permit the Generalissimo to effect a "fundamental solution" of the 
Pacific problem by destroying the Japanese Navy in its bases. 8 Proposed a 
month before British carrier aircraft attacked the Italian Navy at Taranto, the 
Generalissimo's plan might indeed have been the fundamental solution, but 
in the irony of history it was the Japanese who attempted the method at Pearl 
Harbor. 9 

Mr. Johnson considered this a time for decision and urged the State Depart- 
ment to effective action to uphold the U.S. position in the Far East. The 
Department's reply on 23 October was guarded in tone. 10 It reassured the 
Generalissimo by observing that both Singapore and the Burma Road appeared 
safe for the present, and went on to describe Chinese and American interests 
as parallel, even though the traditional U. S. policy was one of shunning alli- 
ances. It concluded with the statement that the U.S. Government would 
continue to study the matter to see what could be done within the framework 
of existing law. Every reader of the press knew that the United States had 
found it legally possible to ship large quantities of arms to the British, and 

7 (1) For an analysis of the pact by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, see the State Department's 
Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Japan: 1931-1941 (Washington, 1943), 
Vol. II, pp. 169-70. (2) The Chinese requests are in Rads, Chungking 524, 526, Johnson to 
STATE, 17, 18 Oct 40. Dept State 793.93/16241, 793.94/16245. (3) Prime Minister Churchill's 
explanation to Mr. Roosevelt of the British decision to close the Burma Road in Winston S. 
Churchill, Their Finest Hour (Boston, 1949), pp. 497-98. 

8 Rads Chungking 528, 529, Johnson to STATE, 20 Oct 40. Dept State 793.94/16249, 
793.94/16251. 

9 On 12 November 1940 British torpedo- carrying planes sank the battleship Cavour and 
grounded two other Italian warships at Taranto. 

10 (1) Rad 529 cited n. 8. (2) Rad STATE 181, Washington to Johnson, 23 Oct 40. Dept 
State 793.94/16245. 



10 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



therefore, although the Generalissimo did not say so specifically, he impressed 
Ambassador Johnson as being pleased with the American reply. He asked the 
American envoy to convey his deep gratitude to President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt. 11 After the American note of 23 October, the Chinese closed their 
ears to offers of mediation from Japan's ally, Germany. 12 

The fear of the Chinese Communists that the Generalissimo communicated 
to Ambassador Johnson may have reflected awareness of a widening breach 
between the Nationalists and Communists, which became evident a few 
months later in January 1941. No outsider could hope to untangle the rights 
and wrongs of the incident that marked the end of the United Front, but in 
January 1941 the Nationalists and the Communist New 4th Army clashed. 
When the battle ended, the New 4th Army headquarters staff were dead or 
captive, together with their troops. Thereafter, many Nationalist divisions 
were deployed against the Communists, who, for their part, were quite willing 
to join in fratricidal war. This meant that the Generalissimo had another factor 
to consider in the shifting political balances within China. 

In November 1940 the Generalissimo sent a mission under Maj. Gen. Mao 
Pang-tzo, Director of the Operations Division, Chinese Air Force, to the 
United States. With him was an American citizen, Capt. Claire L. Chennault 
(USA- Ret.), who had been an articulate and forceful advocate of fighter avia- 
tion vis-a-vis the bomber and a daring and skillful pilot. After his retirement 
from the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1937 for physical disability, Chennault had 
gone to China, where he had won the confidence and affection of the Chinese. 
As one of their technical advisers he had become a colonel in their Air Force. 
Studying Japanese equipment, tactics, and military potential, Chennault had 
devised a plan to defeat Japan with a small air force, operating under a tactical 
system designed by him to exploit the relative strengths and weaknesses of 
American and Japanese aircraft and pilots. 13 

Since 1937 the Chinese had been discussing with two other Americans the 
possibility of using their influence and business organizations in placing 
American air power in China. Mr. William D. Pawley and Lt. Comdr. Bruce 
Leighton (USNR-Ret.) were asked by Soong and Mao to co-operate in giving 
air support to the Chinese. 14 

The Mao mission presented its request on 25 November 1940 to the 
President's Liaison Committee, the civilian agency co-ordinating foreign arms 
purchases in the United States. The Chinese wanted 500 combat planes 

11 Rad Chungking 551, Johnson to STATE, 31 Oct 40. Dept State 793.94/16277. 

12 Rad Chungking 581, Johnson to STATE, 22 Nov 40; Rad Chungking 587, Johnson to 
STATE, 27 Nov 40. Dept State 793.94/16345. Ambassador Johnson summarized his October 
and November conversations with the Generalissimo in the latter message. 

13 Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, USA- Ret., Way of a Fighter: The Memoirs of Claire Lee 
Chennault (New York, 1949), pp. 59, 90-104. 

14 Ltr, W. P. Pawlev. P res. Intercontinent Corp., to Romanus, 6 Jul 50. HIS 330.14 
CBI 1950. (SeepiblTographical Note!} 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



11 



delivered to China in 1941. They also wanted crews to fly them since, despite 
the efforts of successive European and American air missions, the Chinese had 
been unable to train a body of pilots. One hundred and fifty basic trainers 
and ten transports would complete a small but balanced air force. Twenty per- 
cent spare parts were requested, plus materiel to build 14 major airfields and 
122 landing strips, and ammunition and ordnance requirements for one year's 
operation. 15 

Concurrently with Mao's aircraft proposal came a Chinese bid for $30,000,000 
worth of ground force materiel. This first bid was on a scale appropriate to 
the equipping of thirty Chinese divisions. Extension of a $100,000,000 credit 
on 1 December 1940 became the first step toward initiating military aid for 
China. Of the total sum, 25 percent could be used to purchase arms. Obviously 
this amount was insufficient to finance either Mao's aircraft program or the 
Chinese bid for ground force materiel. Nor was the U.S. Army able to find 
facilities to manufacture the caliber of weapons which the Chinese requested. 
The Chinese were also told that the U.S. Army had no authority to sell 
ordnance from its own stocks to China. 16 

With $25,000,000 available, Mao's aircraft requests fared better. On 4 
December Dr. Stanley K. Hornbeck of the State Department hinted that 
military aid to China would start with aircraft and that no objection would be 
raised to the American volunteer scheme. On 19 December 1940 Mr. Roosevelt 
approved military aid for China and asked the State, War, Navy, and Treasury 
Departments to find ways of implementing a program. 17 

Fearing Japan's intentions since the Japanese sank the USS Panay in 
December 1937, the Navy Department closely studied the Mao proposals. 
Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, assisted by his aide, Capt. Morton L. Deyo 
(USN), discussed both the strategic implications and the Chinese ability to 
use and maintain 500 modern aircraft with Mr. Pawley and Commander 
Leighton. Both had had years of experience in selling transport and combat 
aircraft to the Chinese Government. Having served on the U.S. Navy's 
Yangtze River patrol, Commander Leighton had acquired a deep appreciation 

15 (1) Specifically, the Chinese asked for 250 Brewster 4F— 4's or Grumman 36A's, 100 
Curtiss- Wright P— 40's, which were considered a match for the new Japanese Zero fighter, 50 
Douglas B— 23 s, and 100 Lockheed Hudsons. The Mao-Chennault specifications in Ltr, Soong 
to Maj Gen James H. Burns, Executive Off, Office, Div of Def Aid Rpts, 31 Mar 41. Exhibit A, 
Sec II, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299, Folder, China— Requirements Presented by the Chinese Repre- 
sentatives. (Hereafter, Soong Requirements.) (2) Ltr, Philip Young, Office of Production Manage- 
ment, to Harry Hopkins, 21 Apr 41, sub: Rpt on China Requests for Lauchlin Currie. China 
Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York. 

16 Ltr, Archie Lockhead, Pres, Universal Trading Corp., to Philip Young, Chairman, President's 
Ln Com, 8 Jan 41; Memo, Lt Col Edward E. MacMorland, Secy, Army- Navy Munitions Bd, for 
ACofS, G— 4, WDGS, 17 Jan, sub: Chinese Ordnance Reqmts; Memo, Maj Gen James H. Burns, 
U.S. Army member, President's Ln Com, for Young, 28 Jan 41. China Folder, ASF (DAD) ID, 
A46-299. 

17 Kittredge, draft MS, Evolution of Global Strategy in World War II, Ch. 11, p. 119. JCS 
Hist Sec. 



12 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



of the strategic importance of China-based air power to deter further Japanese 
aggression, but he was quick to point out its limitations in the hands of the 
Chinese. He insisted that American technicians would have to assist in all 
phases of the 500-plane air force scheme, otherwise there would be failures 
and waste. Though proceeding with caution, Mr. Knox soon became a leading 
advocate of aircraft and volunteers for the Chinese Air Force. 18 

Unfortunately, the Mao program conflicted with American and British 
requirements, whose high priorities were to keep this materiel from China 
until June 1942. 19 The thought behind aid to China was to keep the Japanese 
fully occupied there beginning in the last six months of 1941, not twelve 
months later, and the time lag suggested this could not be done. The size of 
the program was quite acceptable, for the policy then was to accept foreign 
orders which would lead to enlargement of the U.S. munitions plant. 20 The 
initial step in resolving priority conflicts was the agreement of the British pur- 
chasing mission to let the Chinese have 100 P— 40B's allocated to Britain, if the 
Chinese in turn would yield their priority rights to 100 later model fighters. 21 
The British assumed responsibility for completing the armament of the P-40's. 
In their haste to get fighters, the Chinese agreed and accepted the first thirty- 
six P^40's without essential combat gear. 

While the various bureaus worked on these proposals, which Chennault 
had prepared with expert care, Mr. Soong and his Chinese colleagues laid before 
the President a scheme to bomb Japan from Chinese bases with B-17's manned 
by American volunteers. This proposal won considerable attention, unlike the 
Generalissimo's proposal to sink the Japanese fleet. Gen. George C. Marshall, 
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, said it had the approval of the Secretary of 
State, Cordell Hull, and his colleague, Secretary of the Treasury Henry 
Morgenthau. Appearing at the War Department with that august support, the 
plan underwent a more searching examination, during which it appeared that 
the Chinese had already expended a group of Martin bombers without result 
by operating them without fighter cover or antiaircraft support, just as they 
proposed to operate the B-17's. Trained American crews were as scarce as 
B-17's. Permitting them to volunteer would greatly handicap the Army Air 
Corps' expansion program. Moreover, because it was most difficult to ship 
spare parts to airfields within bombing range of Japan, maintenance problems 

18 (1) Memo, Leighton for CNO, 17 Jan 41. Incl B, JB Paper cited n. 6(2). (2) Ltr, Leighton 
to Deyo, 20 Jan 41. Leighton Folder 1-9, W. D. Pawley Papers, Intercontinent Corp., 30 Rocke- 
feller Plaza, New York, N. Y. 

19 Memo, Col Charles Hines, Chairman, Clearance Com, Army-Navy Munitions Bd, for 
President's Ln Com, 6 Dec 40, sub: Chinese Aircraft and Antiaircraft Reqmts. China Folder, ASF 
(DAD) ID, A46-299. 

20 Memo, Hines for President's Ln Com, 3 Feb 41, sub: Chinese Aircraft and Program. China 
Folder, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

21 Memo, Burns for Lt Col Andrew J. McFarland, 23 Dec 40, sub: Conf re Allocation of P-40 
Aircraft, AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A, Tab C. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



13 



for the B-17's would be insoluble. Although the War Department did not 
grant the request for B-17's and volunteer crews, the discussions showed that 
at this early date the Department entertained the idea of containing Japan by 
putting air power into China. 22 

Origins of Lend-Lease Aid for China 

After the purchase of 100 P-40's, the Chinese were in need of more credits 
to complete the Mao air program and to contract for materiel for the Chinese 
Army. Early in January 1941 the War Department told the Chinese to await 
developments on both of their projects since the American aid program was 
about to undergo a profound change. 23 Because of the pending exhaustion of 
British dollar resources, President Roosevelt in December proposed the device 
of removing the "dollar sign" by lending or leasing arms to Great Britain or 
any other nation whose defense was thought vital to American security. 24 Lend- 
lease was a tremendous weapon in the bloodless struggle then under way 
between the United States on the one hand and Germany and Italy on the 
other, because it put the prodigious resources and industry of the United States 
behind Great Britain and China. 25 

The Lend-Lease bill went before Congress on 6 January 1941. In com- 
parison with Great Britain, China played a very minor role in the planning of 
lend-lease legislation. One reason was that, apart from the Mao program, 
Washington had little specific, itemized information as to what China's over- 
all needs were, for Soong's staff had offered only vague generalities. 26 The 
British, on the other hand, had presented concrete programs on which the 
estimate of the first lend-lease appropriation was based. A second reason lay 
in the fact that, though the War Department wanted Japan to be contained in 
China, the British Commonwealth with its vast holdings in the Orient was 
considered to have a predominant interest in maintaining China as a bellig- 
erent. 27 The Commonwealth would have received U.S. approval of any 
reasonable program of transfers to China. 

At this point the Generalissimo asked that Dr. Lauchlin Currie, one of the 
President's administrative assistants, be sent to China to examine the military 
and economic situation. Dr. Currie subsequently visited China from 28 January 
to 11 March 1941. Without, it would seem, having actually explored the scope 

22 Min, Conf in OC ofS. Oftm 23 Dec 40. Vol I, Conferences, A47-68. 

2i (1) Memos citec j n. 161( 2) Memo, Col Hines for Ray A. Graham, President's Ln Com, 
3 Feb 41. China Folder, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

24 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 22 5. 

25 For details on the background of the Lend-Lease Act see Richard M. Leighton and Robert 
Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare: 1941—43, a forthcoming volume in this series. 

26 J. Franklin Ray, Jr., Notes on History of Lend-Lease Aid to China, prepared for Hist Sec, 
Hq, U.S. Forces, I ndia-Burm a Theater, 1945. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

27 JB Paper cite d n. 6(2)1 



14 



STILWELLS MISSION TO CHINA 



and degree of completion of the various projects presented to him by the 
Chinese, Curne returned to ceil the President that in anticipation of increased 
U.S. support the Generalissimo was rushing completion of airfields for B-17's, 
making plans to centralize administrative control of the Burma Road, and 
assembling troops at strategic points to receive American weapons. Currie also 
presented Chinese requests for technicians, advisers, and further credirs for 
currency stabilization/ 8 

The President signed the Lend- Lease Act on 11 March 1941. On 31 March 
Soong presented China's requirements to Maj, Gen, James H, Bums, Execu- 
tive Officer of the Division of Defense Aid Reports, the forerunner of the 
Office of Lend -Lease Administration. 2l> This and subsequent Chinese requests 
were considered in the light of the availabliJity of materiel and of the alteady 
formulated policy of making the major American effort in the Atlantic or 
European area. in 

Soong's first request for supplies and services fell under seven heads, but 
close analysis revealed it centered about three related projects. These were: 

L An enlargement or the Mao-Chennault proposals, calling for a modern 
air force of 1,000 aircraft, with American training and technical help. 

2. Arms which, if issued on the basis of organization finally presented by 
the Chinese in March 1942, M would equip thirty divisions. 

3. An efficient line of communications between China and friendly powers, 
with: 

a. A narrow-gauge railway from Yunnan to the Burma Railways. 

b. A highway from Sadiya, India, across north Burma to China, 
c Trucks, repair shops, and resurfacing for the Burma Road. 

d. Transport aircraft to supplement the road and railways. 
Scattered through the request were indications of the strategy behind them, 
which suggested a Chinese hope that the air force would protect China's air- 
fields and cities and their approaches. With these secure, the lines of commu- 
nications to them could operate efficiently. Expanded lines of supply would 
then support the newly equipped divisions, some of whose requirements would 
be supplied from China's arsenals. Soong believed that a revitalized Chinese 
Army could not only hold key defensive points, thereby forcing Japan to keep 
troops in China, but could ultimately assume the offensive. He estimated that 
with adequate lend-lease aid these strategic aims might be achieved in two 
years' time. 5 2 

J *(l) American Aid to China, pp. 17-1S. (2) A part of Currie's findings is set forth in 
Resume of the Economic and Political Situation in China and Suggestions for Action, 14 Apr 41 , 
Dept State 89 3. 50/245. 

29 Soong Requirements, 

10 Shecwiyad -foaaaajfe M$d Hfykb® pp. \ 

i! See pp|25|42-43|n. 24l on p. 159, *n d|p, 235,| below. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



15 



On his return from Chungking, Dr. Currie had received from Mr. Harry L. 
Hopkins, the President's confidential adviser, the task of expediting Chinese 
lend-lease aid. 33 Currie found Soong's program faring badly in the initial con- 
fusion of setting up lend-lease machinery. 34 Powerful impetus toward expedit- 
ing aid to China came from the signature on 13 April of the Russo-Japanese 
neutrality pact, which stunned the Chinese. The Chinese had found the USSR 
willing to sell them small quantities of arms, and now this source had dried 
up. So the Generalissimo again appealed for help, while Washington was eager 
to find means to offset the pact's effect on world public opinion. 35 

Dr. Currie rushed Mr. Soong's program to the War Department, 36 where 
it received searching analysis. The consensus at the Department was that the 
Chinese were not prepared to take full advantage of the Lend-Lease Act 
because they did not know what they needed. Requirements for ordnance and 
aircraft were in specific quantities and understandably identified, but engineer- 
ing and medical requirements were in "general statements ... to be followed 
by detailed information as soon as available." 37 For the Yunnan-Burma Rail- 
way they asked 30,000 tons of rails but omitted specifications. In asking for 
trucks, Soong gave elaborately worked out tables, all on the basis of 4-ton 
trucks, which were not available in quantity in the United States and which 
would have torn the unimproved Chinese roads to pieces. The spare parts 
problem for these vehicles was met by the simple request for some, with no 
estimate based on operating experience as to what quantity might be needed. 
To be sure, the program promised "future details" on these matters, but this 
was March 1941 and Soong had been asking aid ever since the previous June. 
Every day of delay in giving the specifications meant a day of delay in procure- 
ment, while the general air of vagueness and unreality about these require- 
ments made an unfavorable impression on the War Department. 

On 22 April the War Department gave Currie a preliminary report on 
Soong's program and a list of materiel which if available could be supplied to 
China with out interferi ng to any appreciable extent with U.S. Army and British 
programs. 38 | (Table i )| Scarcity of trucks and road-building machinery forced 

33 Memo, Hopkins for Burns, 4 Apr 41. Folder, China Personnel, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

34 Ltr, Young to Hopkins, 21 Apr 41, sub: Rpt on China Requests for Laughlin Currie, with 
comments and atchd tables. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. 

35 (1) Memo, Sumner Welles for Hopkins, 21 Apr 41; Cables, Roosevelt to Chiang Kai-shek, 
26, 28 Apr, 2 May 41. Record Room, Dept State. (2) Summaries on Russian Aid to Nationalist 
China in Ltr, Louis Johnson, Actg SW, to Secy State, 15 Jun 38, sub: Rpt on Equipment Coming 
into China. Item 563, Secy War, A46-215. (3) U.S. Embassy Rpt 14, Clarence E. Gauss to Hull, 
6 Jun 41. AG (AMMISCA) 334.8. (4) MA Rpt 13 (China), IG 5610, 16 Sep 41, sub: Mun, 
Imports and Exports from Russia to China. MID Library. 

36 Ltr, Currie to Stimson, 14 Apr 41. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. 

37 (1) Soong Requirements. (2) Rpt 1, signed MacMorland, Def Aid Div, 30 Apr 41, sub: 
Rpt of Accomplishments, Functionings, etc., of Def Aid Div, OUSW. ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

38 Memo, Stimson for Currie, 22 Apr 41, sub: Aid Program to China— Lend-Lease Act. AG 
400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. 



16 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Currie to cut the list, and the President earmarked $45,100,000 to initiate 
China's lend-lease program. 39 (See Table 1.) Since funds were available, Soong's 

Table 1 — Initial Programing of Lend-Lease Funds for China: April 1941 



Type 



Total. 



War Department Procurement 



Trucks, Commercial , 

Trucks, Military , 

Railroad Equipment , 

Communications Equipment, 

Tractors 

Passenger Cars 



Treasury Department Procure- 
ment 



Arsenal Materials 

Cotton Blankets 

Road Machinery 

Gasoline (gallons) 
Grey Sheeting (yards). 
Lubricating Oil (tons) , 
Diesel Oil (tons) 



Soong Program 



Quantity 



7,300 
6,500 



150 
300 



3,000,000 



5,000,000 
10,000,000 
2,500 
5,000 



Estimated 
Cost 



$76,100,000 

56,600,000 

21,000,000 
19,000,000 
15,000,000 
1,000,000 
300,000 
300,000 

19,500,000 

10,000,000 
4,500,000 
3,000,000 
1,000,000 
700,000 
2 50,000 
50,000 



Initial Approval 



Quantity 



2,000 
2,000 



150 
300 



3,000,000 



5,000,000 
10,000,000 
2,500 
5,000 



Estimated 
Cost 



$45,100,000 

28,600,000 

6,000,000 
6,000,000 
1 5,000,000 
1,000,000 
300,000 
300,000 

16,500,000 

10,000,000 
4,500,000 



1,000,000 
700,000 
250,000 
50,000 



Source: Memo, Stimson for Currie. 22 Apr 4 1, sub: Aid Program to China — Lend-Lease Act. AG 400.329) 
(4-14-41) Sec I A 



initial requisition on 1 May (as against a requirement) for 300 2V£-ton trucks 
was speedily approved by Mr. Roosevelt on 6 May. 40 Within a fortnight this 
first lend-lease equipment left New York bound for Rangoon, Burma. Mean- 
while, the War Department completed its estimate of availability, dollar costs, 
and shipping data for the whole Soong program. This study laid the basis of 
all Chinese lend-lease programing before Pearl Harbor. Singling out ordnance 
items, Currie secured War De partment a nd presidential approval for funds to 
start the ground force project. [( Table 2) | Currie learned that the War Depart- 
ment's approval of funds for the production of any item on a Chinese program 
did not make its delivery to China a sacred commitment. The War Department 

39 Memo, Currie for Roosevelt, 23 Apr 41, sub: Prelim Aid Program for China— Lend-Lease 
Act. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. Mr. Roosevelt placed his familiar "O.K.-F. D. R." on 
this memorandum. 

40 (1) Folder, China Requisition, AG (AMMISCA) 400.312. (2) Ltr, Currie to Hopkins, 
25 Apr 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. (3) AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A 
contains Mr. Roosevelt's original signature to the statement that China was vital to the defense 
of the United States and was eligible for lend-lease aid. (4) AG (AMMISCA) 523.02 and 611 
contain sailing data and cargo content for the first twelve lend-lease shipments to Rangoon. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



17 



emphasized that emergencies might force shifting priorities when the weapons 
were ready for distribution. 41 

By late spring 1941 an additional $100,000,000 of lend-lease funds was 
divided between Soong's communications and air force projects. 42 (See Tables 
1 and 2 for first grants.) Since he had been given little hope that ordnance and 
communications items would be available for China in any quantity before 
mid-1942, Currie concentrated his efforts on a more promising air program. 

Table 2 — Essential Ordnance Requirements Requested as Lend-Lbasb for China : May 1941 



Item 


Requi 
Quantity 


rements 

Estimated 
Cost 


Availability 






$49,341,000 

9,200,000 
19,128,000 
3,007,000 

1,866,000 

15,000,000 
1,140,000 


Mid- 1942. 
Mid- 194 2. 

On receipt of 105-mm. 

replacements. 
On receipt of 105-mm. 

replacements. 
Immediate order. 
Immediate order. 


Ammunition, 75-mm. (rounds) .... 
Tank, Light, with machine guns . . . 


600 
1,200,000 
144 

144,000 

360 
1,000 



Source: Ltr, Stimson to Currie, 16 May 41. WD 400.3293 (3-14-41) MC, China Lend-Lease, ASF (DAD) 
ID, A46-299. 



Putting Air Power in China: The AVG and Currie 's Lend-Lease Program 

Two air programs were clearly emerging from the original Chinese 500- 
plane proposal by the early spring of 1941. The availability of 100 Curtiss 
P^OB's in January and February 1941 afforded an opportunity that Chennault 
and Soong had exploited, with powerful and essential aid from the services. 
Soong's aim was to rush the organization of a fighter group for earliest pos- 
sible service in China. Currie, on the other hand, was eager to secure lend-lease 
funds to fill a larger long-range air program, which, if successful, would have 
created a potent Chinese Air Force. While both programs developed concur- 
rently, the P-40 project outdistanced its lend-lease counterpart in the period 
before Pearl Harbor. 

On 15 February 1941, General Marshall told the Acting Secretary of State, 
Mr. Sumner Welles, that a man had been found who was willing to take a 

41 Ltr, Robert Patterson, Actg SW, to Currie, 3 May 41. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. 
The War Department's review of Soong's entire program is dated 30 April 1941 and is appended 
to Patterson's letter. The War Department estimated that Soong's requirements, at a cost of 
$1,067,000,000, would take eighteen months to fill. 

42 Memo, Patterson for Marshall, 19 Jul 41, sub: Relative Co-ordination of Chinese Def Aid. 
AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A, Tab H. 



18 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



chance on recruiting pilots for the P^OB's in spite of existing neutrality legis- 
lation. 43 This was the same Mr. Pawley who had been conferring with 
Secretary Knox since December 1940 on a volunteer scheme. Two months 
later Pawley signed a nonprofit contract with Soong to equip, supply, and 
operate the American Volunteer Group (AVG), as it was to be known. Under 
the contract, Colonel Chennault bore the unmartial title of supervisor. To 
insure co-ordination between the different branches of the organization setting 
up the AVG, the contract required Chennault to maintain close liaison with 
Pawley's organization in the Far East and in New York. 44 

Although the AVG was not supported by lend-lease funds, the War and 
Navy Departments, giving effect to the President's policy, were soon involved. 
Both services extended facilities to Pawley's recruiting agents and released 
pilots and crews for service in China's Air Force. 45 Pawley's agents toured Air 
Corps and Navy training fields everywhere save in Hawaii and the Philippines, 
offering big salaries and hinting of bonuses for victories confirmed. Adminis- 
trative and technical staffs were complete on 9 August, but pilot recruiting 
was not complete for another month. There were 101 pilot volunteers, 63 from 
the Navy and 38 from the Army, each with a one-year contract dating from 
the time the volunteer reached the Far East. 46 Overseas movement began on 9 
June with the first pilots sailing later on a Dutch vessel escorted through 
the Japanese mandate islands by American warships. Though contrary to the 
neutrality laws, the escort was considered by Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief 
of Naval Operations, to be essential to U.S. support of China. 47 

Having signed a contract with Soong on 15 April 1941 to secure volunteers 
for the 100 P^40's (which had already been put on board ship for Rangoon), 
Mr. Pawley sent his brother Edward to Chungking to check the preparations 
the Chinese had promised to make to receive the American Volunteer Group 
in China. Edward Pawley reported that the Chinese had not begun their 
preparations to receive the volunteers. Consequently, Pawley told his brother 
to ask the British military authorities in Burma for training facilities. At 
Lashio, Mr. Edward Pawley was so fortunate as to encounter Air Chief Marshal 

43 Min, Standing Ln Com, 15 Feb 41. A48-139. 

44 (I) Interv with Pawley, 24 May 51. (2) Ltr, with atchd Central Aircraft Mfg Co. contract, 
Soong to Pawley and Leighton, 15 Apr 41. Contract Folder, Pawley Papers. 

45 Numerous folders in the Pawley Papers show the official relationship between the services 
and Mr. Pawley's organization. Through unofficial correspondence with many friends in the serv- 
ices, former Army and Navy officers on the staff of Pawley's company adopted current Air Corps 
Tables of Organization and Equipment for the organization of the AVG. The extent of this contri- 
bution is revealed in the Leighton and Aldworth Folders, Pawley Papers. 

46 (1) Letters of introduction to Pawley's agents at Navy and Army installations are in the 
W. D. Pawley Folder, Pawley Papers. (2) Rad, Chennault to Soong, 8 Feb 42. CDS Folder 2-10, 
Pawley Papers. This message verifies that on 2 April 1941 Chennault received approval from 
Soong to pay a 500-dollar bonus to AVG pilots. (3) Ltr, Capt Richard Aldworth (USA- Ret.) 
to Capt F. E. Beatty (USN), Aide to Secy Knox, 24 May 41. Navy Dept Folder, Pawley Papers. 
(4) Progress reports on personnel for the AVG are in the Pawley Papers. (5) Contract cited 
n. 44(2). 

41 Interv with Admiral Stark, 26 Apr 49, Washington, D.C. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



19 



Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, the British commander-in-chief in the Far East, 
who numbered the defense of Burma among his many responsibilities. Sir 
Robert was most helpful, and obtained permission of the British War Office 
to offer facilities at Toungoo and Magwe to the American Volunteer Group. 48 
When the first contingent of volunteers arrived on 28 July, they were 
promptly sent to a recently completed Royal Air Force (RAF) airdrome in the 
midst of a pestilent jungle six miles from Toungoo. This airfield was turned 
over to the AVG by London for full combat training with the proviso that the 
Burmese airfields would not be used as a base to attack the Japanese, for 
Britain was anxious to avoid war with Japan. Administrative difficulties with 
the British and Burmese civil authorities resulted from the arrangement. 
Having been forbidden to use American armed guards or to employ the 
Burmese as guards, the AVG felt its security jeopardized and was finally able 
to obtain Gurkha guards. The AVG could make no additions or changes in 
airfield construction without the official permission of the RAF. The position 
of the American volunteers training in Burma was anomalous, for the AVG 
was part of the Chinese Air Force, and, until war between the United States 
and Japan broke out, they had no official connection with the United States 
Army Air Forces. 

At Toungoo the volunteers for three squadrons of P-40's were trained in 
Chennault's system of tactics, which was based on years of study and observa- 
tion of the Japanese Air Force. Chennault's men used a two-ship element, 
always flying and fighting in pairs, diving in, making a quick pass, and then 
breaking away, thus exploiting the superior diving speed of the P-40 and 
refusing the turning combat for which the frail, maneuverable, Japanese air- 
craft were designed. Gunnery was stressed, that the brief contact might be 
lethal. As a unit, the AVG was trained to break up the Japanese formations, 
confront their pilots with unexpected situations, and exploit the resulting 
confusion. 49 

The training in these tactics took a heavy toll of the planes, which were 
badly in need of proper and complete equipment. In the haste to obtain 
fighters, the P-40's had been accepted without necessary equipment and spare 
parts, on the understanding that the British would release guns and ammuni- 
tion from their lend-lease stocks. This division of responsibility produced 
much debate in the days ahead, with the principal Chinese purchasing and 
supply agency, China Defense Supplies, Inc., arguing that if the British could 
not equip the aircraft the War Department had to. 50 The latter was not eager 

48 (1) Pawley Interv cited n. 44(1). (2) Air Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham, "Operations 
in the Far East, from 17th October 1940 to 27th December 1941," Supplement to The London 
Gazette, January 22, 1948, par. 26. 

49 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 107, 117-19. (2) Robert B. Hotz, With General 
Chennault (New York, 1943), pp. 112, 115-17, 125. 

50 Ltr, David M. Corcoran, Pres, CDS, to Burns, 10 May 41. Folder, China Lend-Lease Corresp, 
Apr-Oct 41, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 



20 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



to be charged with support of a fighter group so far from U.S. bases, and was 
further embarrassed by the current grave shortage of .30- and .50-caliber 
ammunition. Though the War Department approved the concept of keeping 
the Japanese contained in China, when faced with the concrete problem of 
creating and supporting the AVG some of its senior members had misgivings. 
Fully admitting that the details of logistical support made "the whole thing 
so confusing" and convinced that the sober facts of inadequate ordnance and 
signal equipment had not been brought to Mr. Roosevelt's attention, Secretary 
of War Stimson refused to entertain any claim that the Department was not 
responsible for the AVG. "Unfortunately, it is," was his comment. Ultimately, 
Currie had to take the matter to the President with the pertinent remark that 
if the fighters were sent to China without ammunition, there would be an 
international scandal and the rest of the lend-lease program might as well be 
forgotten. The President ordered the release of ammunition, and 1,500,000 
rounds came from Army stocks. Spare parts were just as hard to find, for the 
factory no longer made many of them for the outmoded P-40B. The larger 
question of the War Department's relation to the AVG was not settled before 
war commenced. 51 

Though involved in the effort to rush creation of a fighter group Dr. 
Currie was also at work on his larger program. After considering U.S. aircraft 
production figures and bearing in mind that China received but $53,000,000 
for aircraft out of the first lend-lease allocations, Currie outlined his program 
on 28 May 1941. 52 To supplement the AVG's 100 fighters, he arranged with 
the British to release 144 Vultee P-48's. At the Republic aviation plant he 
found 125 P-43's. In addition he located 66 Lockheed and Douglas bombers 
under British contract for which the RAF lacked pilots. These he proposed to 
obtain by transfer from the British. Placing his program before Secretary Knox, 
Currie argued: "If this program were adopted China would possess, in early 
1942, a respectable air force, judged by Far Eastern standards, which should 
be sufficient to (a) protect strategic points, (b) permit local army offensive 
action, (c) permit the bombing of Japanese air bases and supply dumps in 
China and Indo-China, and the bombing of coastal and river transport, and (d) 

51 (1) Quotations from Min, Conf in OSW, 0915, lOJun 41. OSW Conf, A45-466. (2) Ltr, 
Marhall to Currie, 16 Tun 41. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. (3) Memo, Currie for Hopkins, 
3 Jul 41; Memo, Hopkins for Burns, 12 Jul 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. 
(4) Memo, Maj Gen Leonard T. Gerow, Actg CofS, WPD, for Maj Gen R. C. Moore, DCofS, 
1 Aug 41, with accompanying Ltrs from JSM in Washington; Ltr, Young to Stimson, 8 Aug 41. 
AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. 

52 (1) Memo, Robert A. Lovett, ASW for Air, for Stimson, 14 Tun 41, sub: Status of Chinese 
Requests for Air. Stimson Papers in temporary custody of Dr. Rudolph A. Winnacker, Office, Secy 
Del. (2) Memo, Maj Patrick W. Timberlake, recorder, Jt Aircraft Com, for Burns, 19 Apr 41, and 
Burns' reply to Timberlake, 23 Apr 41. Folder, China Lend-Lease Corresp, Apr-Oct 41, ASF 
(DAD) ID, A46-299. (3) WPD 4389, Cases 1-28, Sec 1, A47-30. (See Bibliographical Note.) 
(4) Because Currie's program involved diversion of lend-lease aircraft, the Joint Aircraft Com- 
mittee had to seek policy guidance from the Joint Board. Joint Board Paper 355 (Ser 691) contains 
Currie's Short-Term Aircraft Program for China. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



21 



permit occasional incendiary bombing of Japan." 53 Currie set 31 October 1941 
as the date for the completion of the program, and claimed that such a force 
would be "a powerful means to check a Japanese attack on Singapore and the 
South Seas." 54 Studying these proposals, the highest joint service echelon, the 
Joint Board, raised no objections to their strategic concepts. 55 

The Indochina Crisis and Aid to China 

During the winter of 1940-1941 the greatest military events took place on the 
shores of the Mediterranean. The German armies placed ever more men op- 
posite the Russian frontier, but in the Mediterranean only their air arm was 
active. There the Germans had to support Fascist Italy, which in fall 1940 
proved incapable of overrunning Greece and in December 1940 lost its military 
reputation at the hands of Gen. Sir Archibald P. Wavell, the British commander 
in the Middle East. This German air support was not enough, while the Ger- 
man southern flank opposite Russia needed strengthening. Germans in various 
guises moved into the Balkans in ever greater numbers. The Yugoslav people 
in March 1941 revolted against an attempt to bring them into the German 
camp as a satellite. It was the first spontaneous popular defiance of Germany's 
"new order" in Europe. 

The Germans could not let the challenge pass. By a great feat of rapid 
planning and logistical improvisation they so quickly altered their disposi- 
tions in the Balkans that on 6 April 1941 they could attack Yugoslavia and 
Greece. The events of spring 1940 were repeated as the perfectly equipped, 
splendidly trained German veterans overran the Yugoslavs who tried to defend 
their borders, while the inability of the Greeks to withdraw their best troops 
from Albania made futile Wavell's attempts to support the Greeks with a small 
air contingent and a task force of some 60,000 men, of whom about 33,000 
came from Australia and New Zealand. The evacuation under the blows of the 
Germans, whose air superiority could not be disputed in the campaign's later 
phases, was a painful experience. 

After Greece surrendered on 24 April 1941, the Germans organized an air- 
borne attack on the island of Crete. The Germans began their operation on 
20 May and after a week's hard fighting had another victory, for Crete was 

53 Ltr, Currie to Knox, 28 May 41. Incl, JB Paper 355 (Ser 691). In addition to the proposal 
on combat aircraft, Currie incorporated a plan to place ten DC-3 transport planes in service with 
the China National Aviation Corporation for hauls between Lashio and Kunming. In July the 
Joint Board found that no transports were available, but in the fall lend-lease funds to buy ten 
DC-3's, with a promise that all would be in service by March 1942, were given to the Chinese. 
Currie's program also covered the training of 500 Chinese airmen on lend-lease funds. Training of 
the Chinese began on 1 October 1941 with a group of fifty pilots followed each week by a class of 
fifty new candidates. 

54 Incl to JB Paper 355 (Ser 691). 

55 Stark and Marshall approved JB Paper 35 5 (Ser 691) on 12 July 1941, followed by Knox 
on the 15th and by Acting Secretary of War Patterson on the 18th. 



22 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



theirs. But the triumph, though technically of great interest, was as costly to 
the Germans as to the Allies for the German airborne units which took part 
were thoroughly shaken up and the Germans never tried to duplicate Crete. 
Much of the burden of Crete's defense was borne by Dominion troops; their 
losses in Crete and Greece had effect on the policies of their governments. 

Then the German divisions moved back north and east, leaving garrisons 
in the Balkans. In May and June they rejoined the principal German forces, 
which for months past had been quietly gathering along the Russian frontier. 
The Russians were alarmed; the Germans, enigmatic. The Russians attempted 
various forms of appeasement, but the Germans were bent on their project and 
crossed the Soviet frontier on 22 June 1941. Like Napoleon, Hitler had turned 
his back on the Channel and was marching to Moscow. It appeared certain that 
the German armies would be occupied for some weeks to come. A few even 
hoped the Russians might last out the winter. 

About 4 July 1941 British and American intelligence agencies became aware 
that the Japanese were on the verge of a major move. The United States had 
broken the Japanese diplomatic code, and so the President and Cabinet in early 
July had the full revelation of how Japan would react to the situation created 
by the German attack on Russia on 22 June 1941. They learned that Japan 
would not attack Russia, but would try to end the undeclared war in China 
and prepare for a southward advance, toward the oil and rubber of British 
Malaya and the Netherlands Indies. As a first step, Japan would occupy 
southern French Indochina and Thailand, even at the risk of war with Great 
Britain and the United States. 56 This was alarming news, for the British might 
not survive the loss of their Far Eastern possessions. Furthermore, the motorized 
American economy, now pledged to support Britain's cause, depended on 
Malayan rubber. 

The Japanese steps were soberly and earnestly debated by the President, his 
Cabinet, and at the highest service levels during July's summer heat. An oil 
embargo, striking at the weakest spot in the Japanese economy, was proposed, 
but Admiral Stark and General Marshall opposed it, warning that it might 
mean war, for such an embargo would offer Japan the somber choice of sur- 
render or striking for the oil of the Indies. 57 Diplomatic warnings over the 
next few days failed to stop the Japanese, and the United States was confronted 

56 (1) Rad 25 5, Canton to Tokyo, PURPLE Code, 14 Jul 41, Hearings of the Congressional Joint 
Committee Investigating the Attack on Pearl Harbor (Washington, 1946), Pt. 12, Exhibit 1, p. 2. (2) 
Memo, Notes on Cabinet Mtg, 18 Jul 41, Stimson Papers. (3) Ltr, Stark to Admiral Thomas C. 
Hart, 24 Jul 41, Hearings of the Congressional Joint Committee . . ., Pt. 16, Exhibit 106, p. 2173. 
(4) Memoirs of Prince Konoye, Hearings of the Congressional Joint Committee . , ., Pt. 20, 
Exhibit 173. 

"(1) Memo, Capt Kittredge to authors, 4 Apr 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. (2) Japanese 
attempts to create a synthetic oil industry were an admitted failure by mid-1941. U.S. Strategic 
Bombing Survey [USSBS], Over-all Economic Effects Div, Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japan's 
War Economy (Washington, 1946), p. 9. (3) Jerome B. Cohen, Japan's Economy in War and Recon- 
struction (Minneapolis, Minn., 1949), p. 137. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



23 



with Japanese occupation of southern French Indochina on 21 July 1941. 58 
Following as it did on the seizure of northern Indochina in September 1940 
and Hainan in February 1939, the Japanese advance southward was an ominous 
step. 

The American reaction was strong and culminated in a decisive step that 
set a time limit within which the Pacific problem would inevitably be brought 
to the crisis stage and which would greatly affect any long-range program of 
aid to China. On 23 July the President approved a Joint Board paper which 
recommended that the United States equip, man, and maintain the 500-plane 
Chinese Air Force proposed by Currie. The paper suggested that this force 
embark on a vigorous program to be climaxed by the bombing of Japan in 
November 1941. Joint Board Paper 355 also defined the strategy behind aid 
to China: "The continuation of active military operations by the Chinese is 
highly desirable as a deterrent to the extension of Japanese military and naval 
operations to the South." 59 

The general concept of giving China lend-lease aid, as distinguished from 
any specific program that might be submitted, was approved because at this 
time in Washington there was a myth and a hope about China. An ardent, 
articulate, and adroit Sinophile faction claimed that the Chinese were cou- 
rageously and competently resisting the Japanese and needed only arms to 
drive them into the sea. The services were too well informed to share that 
belief, but they hoped that if the Chinese were rearmed, reorganized, and 
trained they might cause the Japanese such concern as to bar any adventures 
in the South Seas. So the myth and the hope converged, and lend-lease aid to 
China found increased support in high places. 60 

A presidential proclamation calling the armed forces of the Philippine 
Commonwealth into the service of the United States was issued, and Lt. Gen. 
Douglas MacArthur became head of a new army command in the Far East. 
Plans were set in motion to reinforce the Philippines. General Marshall and 
Admiral Stark believed it was understood that economic sanctions would not 
go beyond the licensing of Japanese trade, to control all exports to Japan. On 
26 July an order was issued from the summer White House at Hyde Park 
freezing Japanese assets. Press and public hailed it as an "oil embargo," and 
when no licenses for the purchase of oil were ever issued to the Japanese under 
the executive order, it became in effect the decisive step of embargo, setting 

58 U.S. Department of State, Peace and War: U.S. Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, 
1942), pp. 696, 699. 

59 The President initialed a covering letter to JB Paper 355 (Ser 691) on 23 July 1941. This 
letter, dated 18 July, is from Patterson and Knox to the President and was returned to the Joint 
Board in the form of a memorandum by Lt. Col. William P. Scobey, Secretary of the Joint Board, 
for General Marshall on 23 July 1941. These covering papers head the Army's copy of JB Paper 
355 (Ser 691) in G— 3 Registered Documents Section. 

60 (1) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 405. (2) Memo, Brig Gen Sherman Miles, Actg 
ACofS, G-2, WDGS, for CofS, 26 Mar 41, sub: Chinese Power of Resistance. MID 381.2, China 
(3—26—41). (3) Memo, Patterson for Marshall, 19 Jul 41, sub: Relative Co-ordination of Chinese 
Def Aid. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. Tabs A-H. 



24 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



about a twelve-month limit within which the Japanese would have to reach an 
understanding with the United States or attack the Netherlands Indies. 61 

The Joint Board recommendations approved by the President on 23 July 
were that (a) 269 fighters and 66 bombers be furnished for "effective action 
against Japanese military and naval forces operating in China and in neighbor- 
ing countries and waters"; (b) the United States provide means to train 
Chinese to fly and maintain these aircraft; (c) the United States send a military 
mission to China to advise the Chinese on the proper use of the large amount 
of arms being furnished by the United States. Aircraft allocations were left 
subject to U.S. and British requirements; most of them would have to be trans- 
ferred from British allocations. Thus, the Joint Board accepted Currie's aircraft 
program. 62 

Immediately after the President's approval of these recommendations, 
Soong and Pawley initiated plans for a second American Volunteer Group, 
based on American concepts of a light bombardment unit, with American 
pilots for the thirty-three Lockheed Hudson bombers and Chinese pilots for 
the thirty-three Douglas. 63 Hiring began on 1 November, but Pawley had 
difficulty in finding trained bombardiers. On 21 November forty-nine ground 
personnel for the second AVG left for China. The outbreak of the war stranded 
them in Australia. 64 

In November and December 1941 there was a distinct possibility that the 
AVG might become an Anglo-American organization. Following a warning 
from the British Ambassador to China on 31 October 1941 that the situation 

61 (1) In the margin of a draft manuscript of this chapter, Admiral Stark wrote: ". . . state- 
ment about oil is correct— but I understood at the time— it was not an oil embargo though it 
ultimately did develop into it." HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. (2) In commenting on a draft manuscript 
for this portion of the text, Admiral Stark and Captain Kittredge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Historical 
Section, outlined the following Joint Board recommendations of 25 July 1941 which the Chief 
of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations thought had been approved by the President: 

"1 A Presidential proclamation calling the Philippine forces in U.S. service, with the appoint- 
ment of Gen. MacArthur as Commanding General of a new army command, 'U.S. Army Forces 
in the Far East' (USAFFE) with proposals for immediate strengthening of U.S. forces in the 
Philippines. 

"2 Approval of the program for aid to China, including the CAF [Chinese Air Force] project, 
the AVG program, the supply of further ordnance material for the 30 division program, and the 
sending of a U.S. military mission. 

"3 Approval of proposals for release of munitions for Russia, including items from the Army 
and Navy and future production previously allocated to the U.S. and British forces. 

"4 Maintenance of the closing of the Panama Canal to Japanese ships, with provision for 
co-operation with British and Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific for reduction of shipments 
to Japan. 

"5 No general embargo on Japan, but introduction of a licensing system for exports, assuring 
U.S. control of all shipments to Japan." | ^^^_^^^_ | 
(3) For data on Ja pan's oil situ ation, see sources cited in notei57(2) and (3). 

62 J B Paper cite d|n. 6(271 

63 Initial plans for i Chinese- American composite unit were laid in the Soong-Pawley-Aldworth- 
Chennault correspondence of fall 1941. Captain Aldworth drafted Tables of Organization and 
Equipment to meet the needs of the 66 bomber and 269 fighter allocations. Chennault approved 
these tables for the second AVG on 29 September 1941. Ltr, Aldworth to Soong, 17 Aug 41; 
Ltr, signed "Ken", to Aldworth, 24 Aug 41; Ltr, Soong to Chennault, 15 Aug 41; Rad, Chennault 
to Soong, 29 Sep 41. Soong- Pawley Folder, Pawley Papers. 

64 2d AVG Folder, Pawley Papers. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



25 



in China was very grave, Air Chief Marshal Brooke-Popham's headquarters 
began preparations to place a volunteer fighter squadron and, if possible, some 
bombers in China to operate with the American Volunteer Group. William 
D. Pawley strongly urged the British project and co-operated in the logistical 
preparations. 65 

The aircraft procurement recommended by the board went more slowly. 
When the complicated details of transferring aircraft from British to Chinese 
allocations had been completed and Currie had been rescued from the embar- 
rassment caused by his having promised aircraft to China before the British 
consented to release them, it appeared that deliveries could not start until 
November 1941 and would not be complete until April 1942. 66 So went 
another hope of containing the Japanese in 1941. 



Mr. T. V. Soong's requirements of 3 1 March for artillery and arsenal mate- 
rials clearly implied a plan to rearm thirty divisions. He gave priority to thirty 
battalions of 75-mm. pack howitzers, with 2,000 rounds per piece, and thirty 
battalions of 37-mm. antitank guns, with 1,500 rounds each. The War Depart- 
ment understood this artillery was organic to the Chinese division, but Mr. 
Soong did not elaborate the point. Lower priority went to thirty battalions 
of 105-mm. and eight battalions of 155-mm. howitzers, with ammunition. For 
the Chinese infantry, Soong asked 15,000 7.92-mm. machine guns with 
500,000,000 rounds of ammunition. China had perhaps 200 obsolete tanks, 
and Soong wanted 360 light tanks and 400 scout cars to replace them. 67 

As the War Department studied Soong's proposals, it found there was 
little that it could spare from existing stocks or current production. However, 
if the President was to allocate $184,000,000 from lend-lease funds, future pro- 
duction might meet China's ordnance needs by mid-1942. In mid-May 1941 
the Secretary of War agreed with Dr. Currie that the Chinese might begin 
their rearmament with $50,000,000 of lend-lease funds and that $23,000,000 
worth could be from U.S. Army stockpiles or current production. From the 
latter sources the War Department hoped to find before mid-1942: 144 75-mm. 
guns, 235 75-mm. howitzers, 265 scout cars less armament, 360 light tanks 

65 ( 1 ) Brook e- Popham Despatch, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 26. (2) Pawley Interv 
cited n. 44( 1) j 

61 ( 1 ) Ltr, Currie to Soong, 23 Jul 41. Item 13, AG (AMMISCA) 336.2. (2) Min, JB Mtg, 
4 Sep 41. G-3 Registered Documents Section. (3) Ltr, Currie to Hopkins, 20 Aug 41. China 
Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. (4) Ltr, Soong to Col William J. Donovan, 16 Aug 
41. Folder, China- Howitzers, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. (5) Memo, Currie for Roosevelt, 26 
Aug 41; Cable 4166, Ambassador John Winant to Hopkins, 9 Sep 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor 
Folder, Hopkins Papers. (6) Memo, Maj Gen Henry H. Arnold for Marshall, 9 Sep 41. ASF 
(DAD) ID, A46-299. (7) Schedules for the release of the P-43's and P-66's in Rad, Col 
H. W. T. Eglin, Chief, AMMISCA Washington Detail, to Magruder, 15 Oct 41. Item 25, AG 
(AMMISCA) 336.2. 

67 Soong Requirements. 



The Thirty Division Program 



26 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



with machine guns, and 1,000 V^-ton trucks (jeeps). Ammunition would be 
included. Additional lend-lease funds were set aside for an arsenal program and 
signal, engineering, and medical items. 68 

In May 1941 the Chinese purchasing and supply authority in the United 
States, China Defense Supplies, began to present its detailed requisitions 
against the approved thirty division program. 69 Although China Defense Sup- 
plies' officials could call on War Department personnel to assist them in 
preparing these requisitions, complaints soon arose that these Chinese agents 
not only had no idea of what was actually needed for war in China but were 
ignorant of the inherent limitations and qualities of the weapons desired. One 
example was the story of the Chinese requisition for 50,000 .30-caliber rifles, 
M1917-A (Enfield), with bayonets, scabbards, and accessories. The War 
Department had some on hand in mid- 1941, though 1,000,000 had already 
gone to Britain. The weapon compared very well with the standard Japanese 
piece, and the Chinese and their sympathizers represented their need for arms 
as desperate. The War Department considered making these rifles available 
to the Chinese even before their request was received, though there was no 
.30-caliber ammunition immediately available. On 17 June Soong bid for 
50,000 Enfield rifles, but when a sample was delivered to his ordnance expert 
the latter said "it would jeopardize his reputation" to send the Enfields to 
China and demanded 50,000 Garand semiautomatics. Supply of the Garand 
was quite inadequate for the U.S. Army at this time, and none were available. 
There was the further problem of finding enough ammunition for this weapon, 
with its high rate of fire. Later the War Department learned in confidence that 
the Chinese were negotiating with a small New York manufacturer to convert 
the Enfields into semiautomatics, a difficult and most unsatisfactory operation. 
Still later, China Defense Supplies urged that the 50,000 rifles be sent to China, 
there to be converted to 7.92-mm., a task which would have absorbed the 
energies of the Chinese arsenals for months on end. In February 1942, after 
some had been shipped to Great Britain and others issued to the state militias, 
the War Department still had 20,000. 70 These Enfields went to India and ulti- 
mately were used by the Chinese to retake north Burma. 

In their requisitions for tanks, the Chinese again revealed ignorance of 
what was possible for operations in China. Soong asked for the standard U.S. 
light tank, a 13-ton model. Since it was pointed out repeatedly that this tank 
could not cross the majority of bridges in China and Burma, Chinese insistence 
on the 13-ton type until as late as November 1941 typified something that 
appeared over and over again— Chinese demands for the biggest and newest 
equipment regardless of availability or practicality. The story of the Marmon- 

68 Memo, Patterson for Marshall, 19 Jul 41, sub: Relative Co-ordination of Chinese Def Aid. 
AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A, Tabs A-H. 

6 9 Ibid. 

70 (1) AG (AMMISCA) 474. (2) Folder, China Rifles, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



27 



Herrington 7-ton tanks was very like that of the Enfields. The tank was in 
production, it was available in quantity, and it could be used on the primitive 
Chinese road net. The Chinese objected to its armament of one .50- and two 
.30-caliber machine guns and demanded it carry three .30-caliber machine guns, 
a flame thrower, and a 37-mm. antitank gun, an impossible problem in design 
and production on a 7-ton chassis. When the Chinese had been persuaded to 
accept the standard armament, it then developed there was a shortage of .50- 
caliber machine guns, so Marmon- Herrington was told to use three .30-caliber 
pieces. When the tanks began coming off the assembly line in December 1941, 
it was found the turrets would not permit replacing the .30's with .50's when 
the latter became available. The Chinese at once charged bad faith and refused 
to take delivery. Excited tempers were cooled when arrangements were made at 
London to supply the Chinese with 1,200 Bren gun carriers from British and 
Canadian production in place of the tanks, which the United States accepted 
and used for guarding airfields. 71 Such action by China Defense Supplies 
resulted in increased and irresistible pressure within the War and Treasury 
Departments to secure a greater measure of control over the whole process of 
rearming the Chinese Army. 72 

Creation of the American Military Mission to China (AMMISCA ) 

China's military problems were not new to the War Department. Military 
attaches and the recent air mission to China (17 May-6 June 1941) of Brig. 
Gen. Henry B. Clagett, commanding the Philippine Department Air Force, 
reported on those problems. 73 Other officers, including General Marshall, had 
served in China with the tiny garrisons that the United States maintained 
there as a symbol of its support of Chinese nationalism against the several 
European and Asiatic imperialisms. Twenty-eight officers had been in China 
(1923-37) as language students. There was, therefore, a group of men in the 
War Department well able to interpret press dispatches from China and to 
appraise Chinese requests for aid. 

The difficulties that arose in processing Chinese requests for lend-lease arms 
suggested to several officers that the War Department take some positive 

71 (1) Folder, China Tanks, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. (2) Folder, Marmon-Herrington Co., 
Inc., AG 095, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. (3) AG (AMMISCA) 400.312. (4) AG (AMMISCA) 
470.8. (5) Ltr, Col Haydon L. Boatner to Chief, HD SSUSA, 14 Nov 47. HIS 330.14 CBI 1947. 
(6) Memo for Record by Boatner, 7 Oct 41. Folder, China Lend-Lease Corresp, Apr— Oct 41. 
ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

72 Memo, Burns for Hopkins, 14 May 41, with Incl, Ltr, J. P. Sanger, Asst Dir of Purchases, 
to C. E. Mack, Dir of Procurement, Treasury Dept, 8 May 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, 
Hopkins Papers. 

lh During Currie's mission to Chungking, the Generalissimo had requested that a high-ranking 
air officer come to China. Mr. Roosevelt approved the request. Seeing that Soong's program of 
air power in China was obviously going to claim a large share of American resources, Marshall 
sent Clagett to China. Clagett's report of the Chinese Air Force and its installations in Rpt, Clagett 
to Marshall, 12 Jun 41, sub: Air Mission to China. AG (AMMISCA) 336.2. 



28 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



action to improve the handling of lend-lease by China. The current military 
attache in Chungking, Lt. Col. William Mayer, recommended on 15 June 1941 
that his successor be a general officer charged with advising and assisting the 
Generalissimo. He observed that both Joseph W. Stilwell and John Magruder 
had attained general officer's rank, had been attaches in China, and so either 
would be qualified. 74 On 16 June G— 4, War Department General Staff, sug- 
gested a lend-lease mission of Army personnel. 75 

Memoranda began to pass back and forth, from which these arguments for 
the dispatch of a mission emerged: (1) preliminary plans and moves for aid 
to China had not been meshed with the over-all lend-lease program, with 
strategic estimates, or with national policy; (2) Soong's strategic goals would 
be more easily reached if American personnel, acting with China's leaders, 
could advise and assist the Chinese; (3) since China Defense Supplies had no 
competent military advice, it had asked for far more equipment (and brought 
pressure to bear to get it) than the Chinese could use or even transport to 
China; (4) China's history provided many instances of the waste of foreign 
loans and gifts; (5) the work of the German Military Mission, which had 
greatly assisted the Generalissimo's rise to power, could be excelled by 
American officers profiting by the Germans' experiences; (6) the American 
Volunteer Group and its logistical problems were not receiving proper atten- 
tion; (7) if war came, a basis for Sino- American military co-operation would 
have been laid. 76 

Further support for the mission came from the foreign scene. Knowledge 
that if war came the British Military Attache to China, Maj. Gen. L. E. 
Dennys, would emerge as chief of a military mission sponsoring guerrilla and 
RAF activities suggested an American mission. 77 The fear that the Soviet 
Union might be defeated also expedited the formation of an American mission 
to China as a reassuring diplomatic gesture, for the Chinese feared Russian col- 
lapse would release Japanese troops in Manchuria for adventures elsewhere. 78 
On 3 July 1941 General Marshall approved the American Military Mission to 
China (its short title, AMMISCA, will be used hereafter). 79 Eight days later 
the Acting Chief of Staff, G-2, Brig. Gen. Sherman Miles, wrote a personal 

74 Rad, Mayer to AG WAR, 15 Jun 41. AMMISCA Rad File, Job-11. 

75 Memo, Brig Gen Eugene Reybold, Actg ACofS, G-4, WDGS, for CofS, 16 Jun 41. Folder, 
Mission to China, ASF (DAD) ID, A46— 299. Maj. Haydon L. Boatner prepared this paper for 
Reybold' s signature. 

76 (1) Memorandum cited note 68 contains various staff studies for initiating AMMISCA for 
the Office, Under Secretary of War, to consider. (2) Memo with Incls, MacMorland, Def Aid Div, 
OUSW, for WPD, 20 Jun 41, sub: Organization of Mil Mission to China. WPD 4389-7, Sec 1. 
(3) The Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy, supported AMMISCA since he had been 
disturbed over the lack of planning for the AVG. Memo, McCloy for Miles, 21 Jul 41. G— 4, 
32192/1, A43-3. 

77 American reports on the scope and mission of the British Military Mission to China in Rad, 
MA Chungking to AG WAR, 25 Jun 41; Rad, MA Chungking to WPD, 6 Jul 41; Rad, STATE 
82, Gauss to Hull, 24 Jul 41. AG (AMMISCA) 334.8 and WPD 4389-11, Sec 1. 

78 Memo, Welles for Hopkins, 7 Jul 41. WPD 4389-7, Sec 1. 
7 ' WPD 4389-17. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



29 



letter to Brig. Gen. John Magruder, commanding Fort Devens, Mass., to 
inform him he was being considered to head a lend-lease mission to China, 
which in the event of war would be "the liaison for strategic planning and 
cooperation with our ally, China." 80 Magruder reported to Washington soon 
after and began his studies of the China problem. 81 

As was noted previously, the Joint Board paper approved by the President 
on 23 July called for a military mission to China, which thus put the final seal 
on the project, and the bureaucratic struggle to write the directive, fix the juris- 
diction, and prescribe the composition of AMMISCA began. There were long 
discussions with the State Department, which wanted the mission to be con- 
trolled by the new American Ambassador to China, Mr. Clarence E. Gauss. 82 
The War Department carried its point with the contention that AMMISCA 
was "operational" in the highest sense, so that Magruder was merely attached 
to the Embassy to assure what was called "the coordinating jurisdiction of the 
Ambassador." 83 

AMMISCA Receives Its Orders 

The Chinese were told of AMMISCA's coming on 20 August 1941, 84 four 
days before the British Prime Minister, Mr. Winston S. Churchill, revealed 
that conversations were under way between the American and Japanese Gov- 
ernments on the gravest issues of Pacific diplomacy. The question of 
Magruder's directive became an immediate issue. For a while it was felt that 
Magruder should be authorized to conduct staff talks with the Chinese on 
co-operation between the two Allied Powers should war arise in the Pacific 
between America and Japan. 85 If adopted, this provision would have helped 
fill one of the gaps in prewar planning, but it was never authorized. When the 
issue came to a head in November, the War Department told Magruder to 
express no opinions of his own on the employment of U.S. Forces in China, 
nor to discuss any Chinese proposals, but simply to transmit the latter to 
Washington. 86 

The orders given General Magruder faithfully reflected the growing War 
Department convictions about China. He was told to: 



»Q Mpmo Miles far Magruder, 1 1 Jul 41. AMMISCA Folder 1, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (See 
Bibliograp hical Note.)| 

01 Magruder s planning papers in AMMISCA Folder 1. 

82 As a Foreign Service officer at Shanghai, Gauss had had long experience in dealing with the 
Chinese. As it worked out, Gauss had no control over AMMISCA, which, since the latter appeared 
to control lend-lease aid, created a situation not lost on the observant Chinese. Gauss was Ambas- 
sador to China until November 1944. 

83 The exchange of planning papers is in AMMISCA Folder 1. 

84 (1) Ltr, Roosevelt to Soong, 20 Aug 41. Folder, Mission to China, ASF (DAD) ID, 
A46-299- ( 2 ) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 404. 

85 WPD 4389-17. 

86 Rad, AMMISCA 40, AG WAR to Chungking, 15 Nov 41. WPD 4389-30. 



30 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



(1) Advise and assist the Chinese Government in all phases of procurement, transport, 
and maintenance of materials, equipment, and munitions requisite to the prosecution of its 
military effort. 

(2) Advise and assist the Chinese Government in the training of Chinese personnel in 
the use and maintenance of materials, equipment, and munitions supplied as defense aid 
material by the United States. 

(3) When requested, assist personnel of other Departments of the [United States] 
Government in carrying out their respective duties in furtherance of the objectives of the 
Lend- Lease Act pertaining to China. 

(4) Assist the Chinese Government in obtaining prompt and co-ordinated administra- 
tive action by the United States authorities necessary to insure the orderly flow of materials 
and munitions from lend-lease agencies to the Chinese military forces. 

(5) Explore the vital port, road, and railroad facilities with a view to the establishment 
and maintenance of an adequate line of communications. 87 

Magruder was further instructed to negotiate only with the Generalissimo, 
and to refrain from dealings with the war lords and cliques. 

Diplomatically, the dispatch of AMMISCA may be classed with other 
measures taken at this time as warnings or deterrents to Japan, such as the oil 
embargo, stern notes, and the reinforcement of the Philippines. Though 
AMMISCA was primarily intended to see to it that lend-lease aid was effec- 
tively applied, the Joint Board was well aware that it had great, possibly 
dramatic, potentialities since the ultimate objective of all this was "Chinese 
military self-sufficiency." 88 Magruder told Marshall that "implementation in 
China of this policy in counterbalancing Japanese military capacity, if suc- 
cessfully carried out, can be measured militarily in terms of army corps." 89 

During the first two weeks of September, AMMISCA took hold among the 
swarming bureaus of Washington. It had two functional subgroups, one to 
operate in China and on the line of communications up from Rangoon, and 
the other in Washington to deal with China Defense Supplies, the Treasury, 
the rest of the War Department, and other government agencies. Magruder 
also received approval of his plan to form groups of specialists who would go 
to China from time to time "in connection with vital road and railroad prob- 
lems, training in new equipment as it is made available, motor and armament 
maintenance problems, etc." 90 

87 (1) Memo, Patterson for Magruder, 27 Aug 41, sub: Instructions for Mil Mission to China. 
AMMISCA Folder 1. (2) Points 4 and 5 in JB Paper 354 (Ser 716), 19 Sep 41. 
88 JB Paper 354 (Ser 716). 

89 Memo, Magruder for Marshall, 11 Aug 41, sub: Mil Mission to China. AMMISCA Folder 1. 

90 (1) Ibid. Approval came in Memo cited n. 87(1). (2) Three valuable diaries record 
AMMISCA activities. The official diary, recorded and numbered by weeks, not only contains 
a daily summary, but has appended to it the most important papers and staff studies which were 
sent by pouch to Washington. AMMISCA Weekly Rpts in AG (AMMISCA) 319.1. The weekly 
diary of the Washington Detail of AMMISCA is in the same file. The other two diaries are unof- 
ficial. One is the work of Col. Edward E. MacMorland, Chief of Staff, AMMISCA, and it provides 
background information on conferences and policy radios reported to Washington. Another diary 
was kept by Col. Harry S. Aldrich, who recorded day-by-day events in Burma before Pearl Harbor. 
Aldrich's diary later records the activities of the Joint Allied Military Council located in 
Chungking. Notes from the MacMorland and Aldrich Diaries are in Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (See 
|TBTETTograpru^aT^ot?T1 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



31 



Before he left for Chungking, Magruder was quickly initiated into the 
problems of his new role. The composition of his staff was affected by the 
Generalissimo's desire, expressed through Soong, that certain technicians be 
included. 91 This was an opportunity to acquire valuable experience for the 
War Department, which therefore sent several reserve officers to cope with 
technical problems peculiar to the Orient. Magruder also found that the 
Chinese expected him to have great weight in War Department discussions of 
lend-lease arms. 92 When Mr. Soong complained to Col. William J. Donovan, 
Co-ordinator of Information, that the United States was not keeping its 
promises to China, the matter was promptly referred to Magruder. In suggest- 
ing an answer, Magruder told Marshall that "since the will of Chiang Kai-shek 
almost alone fixes the will of the Chinese people, the morale of this leader 
should be supported in every practicable way." 93 He asked Marshall to approve 
shipment of materiel for two battalions of field artillery, to accelerate the deliv- 
ery of 144 P-43 fighters, to arrange for immediate procurement of the thirty- 
three Lockheed Hudsons, and to ship ordnance and ammunition for the 
American Volunteer Group at once. This time Marshall's reaction was imme- 
diate and favorable, for the War Department released its first shipment of 
ammunition to the Chinese as August 1941 ended. The release of yet more aid 
was an imminent prospect and China's lend-lease funds were scheduled for 
a sharp increase in the planning for a second lend-lease appropriation bill (later 
passed in October 1941). 94 

On 13 September 1941 the first group of AMMISCA personnel flew to 
Chungking via Manila and Hong Kong. Before their arrival, the Japanese 
forces in China opened a drive on Changsha. This offensive brought new 
appeals for aid from the Generalissimo, for any Japanese activity forced him to 
expend some of his carefully husbanded stocks. 95 Japanese extremists, on their 
side, could persuade themselves further that Washington was merely trying 
to gain time before attacking them, because Magruder stopped at Manila on 
3-4 October to confer with senior American and visiting British officers from 
Singapore. 96 Moreover, Japanese agents at Rangoon could count every ton of 
aid going over the docks. 

General Magruder's arrival in Chungking coincided with the ceremonies 
commemorating Double Ten Day (10 October), the thirtieth anniversary of 

91 (1) Memo, Eglin for Co-ordinator of Information, 12 Nov 41. AG (AMMISCA) 334.8. 
(2) Ltr, Soong to Donovan, 16 Aug 41. Folder, China- Howitzers, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

92 AG (AMMISCA) 210. 

9J (1) Ltr cited n. 91(2). (2) Quotation in Memo, Magruder for Marshall, 18 Aug 41, 
sub: Release of Equipment for China. AMMISCA Folder 1. 

94 G-4/32192, A43-3. 

95 Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 24 Sep 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. 

96 (1) On 19 September 1941 Magruder was instructed to stop in Manila to confer with 
Mac Arthur who had been charged "for all strategic planning involving U.S. Army Forces in the 
Far East." Both officers were told to maintain correspondence and liaison on this subject. Ltr, 
Marshall to MacArthur, 19 Sep 41, sub: Mil Mission to China. WPD 4389-19. (2) MacMorland 
Diary, 3 Oct 42. 



32 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the Chinese Republic, and enthusiasm for AMMISCA's arrival was uncon- 
cealed. Though the Generalissimo was absent from Chungking when 
AMMISCA arrived, and for a fortnight more, Magruder lost no time in going 
to work. Officers were assigned to five major projects: communications, avia- 
tion, military supply, arsenals, and military training. 97 Their work deployed 
some of them along the line of communications from Rangoon north, sent 
some to observe the front at I-chang and on the Yunnan-Indochina border, 
and retained the rest around Chungking. Magruder told his officers these duties 
would involve work in widely separated areas, often out of touch with 
Chungking, so that they would have to show initiative and good judgment. 
Under no circumstances were AMMISCA officers to exceed their authority by 
negotiating or making commitments to British and Chinese officials or 
American agencies until such matters had been approved through diplomatic 
channels. 98 They were reminded that they could hardly hope to change charac- 
teristics which the centuries had implanted in the Chinese, that AMMISCA's 
"effectiveness will depend not on our efforts to change or reform the Chinese, 
but upon our ability to put our advice and aid in such forms as to make it 
practical." 99 

The Chinese Army, Fall 1941 100 

The state and nature of the Chinese Army in the fall of 1941 were no sur- 
prise to Magruder and many of his staff who had served in China before. From 
personal observations Magruder's staff were able to bring their recollections up 
to date and to send back to the War Department a series of reports on the 
Chinese Army. From military attache reports of the twenties and thirties, from 
the reports of AMMISCA officers, and from the reports of observers who saw 
the Chinese Army at first hand, the War Department received the impression 
of a heterogeneous force that had considerable potentialities but that was not 
yet an effective, well-trained, well-disciplined army. 

97 (1) MacMorland Diary. (2) Memo, Magruder for AMMISCA Personnel, 25 Oct 41. 
AMMISCA Folder 5. 

98 Memo, Magruder for Stf Off, 7 Nov 41. AMMISCA Folder 5. 

99 Memo, Magruder for all AMMISCA Offs, 18 Sep 41. AG (AMMISCA) 210. 

100 (1) Unless indicated otherwise, this section is based on the following sources: 
(a) AMMISCA rpts and files in Job-11; (b) AMMISCA radio files incorporated with Hq, U.S. 
Forces, China Theater, records at KCRC; (c) AMMISCA Folder 1; (d) MA Rpts cited n. 2(1); 
(e) WPD 4389-15, 102; (f) GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil Hist Div, Imperial General Headquarters 
Army Orders, Vol. I, Army Directives, Vol. I. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Additional background 
material on the Chinese Army is given in the following secondary works: (a) Graham Peck, 
Two Kinds of Time (Boston, 1950); (b) The China Year Book, H. G. W. Woodhead, ed. (Shanghai 
and London, 1941); (c) Evans F. Carlson's The Chinese Army: Its Organization and Military 
Efficiency (New York, 1940) treats of the Chinese Army before the Japanese blockade; 
(d) Theodore H. White and Annalee Jacoby in their Thunder Out of China (New York, 1946) 
present their view of the Chinese Army; (e) Gerald K. Winfield's China: The Land and the 
People (New York, 1948) has a chapter, 'War and the People of China," which discusses Chinese 
popular attitudes toward their Army; (f) David Morris' China Changed My Mind (Boston, 1949) 
is a candid opinion of a wartime observer. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



33 



During the 1930's, newborn Chinese nationalism and recurrent waves of 
anti-Japanese sentiment brought a number of war lords to the Generalissimo's 
Nationalist banners. There was a brief United Front period when the Chinese 
Communists recognized the Generalissimo's leadership in resisting the Japanese. 
The result was a coalition army but not a unified national force as Westerners 
conceived an army to be. Its German-trained divisions, and those of the more 
progressive and capable war lords, would be classed as mediocre by Western 
standards. These divisions numbered perhaps forty in all, but were under- 
strength, lacked heavy equipment, and were widely dispersed. The balance 
of the Chinese "divisions" were in reality large bands of lightly armed and 
poorly trained men, whose allegiance enabled their commanders to dominate 
the peasantry. These troops were not in contact with the Japanese, and could 
not have been maintained in battle against them. The greatest asset of the 
Chinese Army was the hardihood and valor of the peasant soldier, fighting in 
defense of the familiar things of his province. Its greatest liability was the 
failure of its war lord commanders to see their soldiers as anything more than 
counters in the unending game of Chinese politics. 

In terms of formal structure, the Generalissimo, presiding over the National 
Military Council, commanded this coalition army. He maintained this com- 
mand by seeing to it that, so far as Chinese domestic politics permitted, only 
men loyal to himself held positions of consequence. Loyalty to the General- 
issimo rather than success in battle was the secret of a brilliant military career 
in China. The Chinese Army was deployed over twelve war areas and received 
orders through the Generalissimo's Chief of Staff, General Ho Ying-chin, 
working with the National Military Council. What effective fighting China 
had done since 1939 had been done within one particular war area at a time. 
In most cases, war area boundaries conformed to the ancient provincial bound- 
aries. Often the war area commander doubled as provincial governor and 
exercised both military and political control. In the rear of each war area were 
a few of the Generalissimo's loyal divisions to guarantee the fidelity of the war 
area commander. 

This decentralized regional defense system was primarily intended to keep 
the Japanese from ending the war with one blow. It also tended to keep dissi- 
dent or traitorous elements (puppets) from taking advantage of a military crisis 
to seize control of an unoccupied area. The system had two major drawbacks. 
The wide dispersion of the better troops left the Generalissimo no mass of 
maneuver. And, the creation of twelve war area commanders with military and 
political power resulted in the creation of as many semi-independent satraps. 
Under these circumstances, the Generalissimo's greatest contribution to China's 
war of resistance lay not in his military skill, but rather in his political talents 
in keeping the war area commanders loyal to China. 

Each war area commander recruited, trained, and partially equipped his 
own men. If a Japanese foray threatened more than one war area, the National 



34 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Military Council tried to co-ordinate the efforts of the menaced war areas. 
Consequently, a species of coalition warfare, involving all the attendant dif- 
ficulties that the United Nations met in their attempts to wage it on the global 
scale, was to be met within China. Japanese expeditions often moved along 
war area boundaries, strongly suggesting that they were taking advantage of 
Chinese politics to cause their opponents the maximum of political embar- 
rassment. 

On paper, the Chinese division included all the arms and services it needed 
to make it a self-sufficient combat team. Division strength was nominally 
9,529, but divisions averaged from six to seven thousand, some of them, of 
course, far understrength. Aside from lacking competent and trained com- 
manders and staff officers and having only the rudiments of a supply system, 
the Chinese division had no artillery and was understrength in heavy weapons 
and rifles. The 800-odd pieces of Chinese artillery, a heterogeneous assortment 
from the arsenals of Europe and Japan, were hoarded by the war area com- 
manders and the Generalissimo, to be doled out a piece at a time on great 
occasions. Their employment was extremely inefficient. For artillery support 
the division relied on its trench mortars, of which it had eighteen to thirty. 
On paper the division had 324 light and heavy machine guns (7.92-mm.) but 
the average was 200, of which 36 were heavy. China had perhaps 1,000,000 
rifles. Its arsenals could make field artillery, mortars, machine guns, and rifles 
plus ammunition, but the general shortage of nonferrous metals and explosives 
kept output to a trickle. 101 Added to the general concept of the division as 
the personal property of its commander and to the inherent thrift of the 
Chinese, this shortage of materiel for 300-odd divisions made the Chinese 
extremely reluctant to use or expend any item of equipment. 

That the division was its commander's property affected all Chinese tactics 
and strategy. The division was a military and political asset, not to be expended, 
for no replacements of men or materiel would be forthcoming. American 
observers believed that the divisional commander who lost one third of his 
men lost one third of his power and income. Consequently, though there were 
shining and valiant exceptions, most Chinese commanders would not dream 
of leading their troops as would their Japanese opponents, who, with their 
men, thought dying for the Emperor the goal of a soldier's life. Moreover, 
Americans who worked closely with Chinese divisions discovered that in those 
units, which they had no reason to consider atypical, the soldier's pay was 
among the perquisites of the commander. It was therefore to the commander's 
interest to keep his unit somewhat understrength. 

The location of divisions in the Chinese order of battle does not suggest 
that China had traded space for time. The Chinese divisions had not retired 
into western China there to mass and wait the arrival of arms from the West. 



101 Description of a Chinese division in AG (AMMISCA) 371. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



35 



Instead, the greater part had fallen back from the big cities and railway lines 
into the countryside, while the Japanese flowed round and past them. Nor had 
the Generalissimo concentrated any of his better troops in areas where they 
might hope to receive U.S. arms. Had there been a plan to receive such help 
and then prepare for a great effort to drive the Japanese into the sea, the chosen 
troops would have been designated and a portion of them would be in training 
centers eagerly waiting the arms and instructors. On the contrary, years passed 
before the Chinese finally settled on the divisions they wanted to re-equip, 
while the American experience with training centers for Chinese troops in 
China paralleled that of the man who led his horse to water, but could not 
make it drink. 

The nomenclature of units in the Chinese Army resembled the Japanese 
system rather than the American. The Chinese used the now familiar triangular 
(three-regiment) division, but had no army corps. Instead, they had armies, 
each consisting of three divisions plus army troops. Three Chinese "armies" 
in turn made a "group army," which was analogous to the American army. 
Thus the Chinese built their Army up by dividing each successive higher eche- 
lon by three — three regiments to a division, three divisions to an army, and 
three armies to a group army. Most Chinese war areas had three group armies. 

China had about 3,819,000 men under arms. Of these, 2,919,000 were 
formed into 246 divisions classed by the Chinese as "front-line" troops, plus 
44 "brigades" (a term loosely applied to men organized on military lines). 
In rear areas were another 70 divisions plus 3 brigades, or 900,000 more. Except 
for the Generalissimo's personal troops, estimated at about 30 divisions, the 
loyalties of China's troops lay with their war area commanders. 102 

The whole tangled structure of Chinese politics, culture, and society was 
reflected in the question of what troops would obey whom under what set 
of circumstances. Loyalty being a conditional virtue in most men, only an 
observer gifted with clairvoyance could state with accuracy that such and such 
a division would obey the orders of Chungking under all circumstances. Thus, 
the Chinese Ministry of War would not attempt to order certain Yunnanese 
and Szechwanese divisions 103 to leave their native provinces. On another 
occasion, a very senior general officer of the Chinese Government bitterly pro- 
tested giving lend-lease to the troops of a certain war area commander, of 
unchallenged loyalty to Chinese nationalism and the Allied cause, at a time 
when those troops were hotly engaged with the Japanese. 104 The war area 
commander was then out of favor in Chungking, and only a very few insiders 
would have known why. 

102 ( 1) Orders of Battle as assembled from Chinese and American sources in AG (AMMISCA) 
336.2, 371. (2) MA Rpts, MID 2009-198, 2271-1-36, 2657-H-439, 2271-L-19, 
2347-1-4 4. 2271-1 -33. 2279-1-14, 2009-255. National Archives. 

105 See Ch. IX, below. 

104 MS, History of Zebra Force, pp. 6-7. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 



36 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Staff and command procedures were peculiar to the Chinese Army. Orders 
given through a staff officer meant nothing. Orders had to come from the 
commander personally, and, if written, bear his seal or chop. Transport was 
not something to be carefully provided for in advance but was commandeered, 
often at gun point, or else was an object of barter and diplomatic negotiation 
between the commanders. Diversion of transport to haul loot and com- 
manders' personal property was one of the more noticeable abuses. 

The maintenance of this huge mass was a fearful drain on the Chinese 
economy. The number of Chinese divisions was more than three times as 
many divisions as the United States had in the field in 1945. A veritable flood 
of lend-lease equipment, in hundreds of thousands of tons every year, would 
have been needed to arm 316 divisions and 47 brigades, after they had been 
taught how to use and maintain it. A small amount, spread over all these units 
with a nice eye to face and patronage, would have been spread so thin as to 
have no effect on the situation. Thus, 1,080 75-mm. howitzers would give a 
modest artillery complement, not far below Japanese standards, to thirty 
divisions. Spread evenly over 316 divisions it would amount to about three 
new pieces for each division, which would leave each unit only nominally less 
ineffective than before. 105 

From 19 October to 10 November 1941, two of AMMISCA's officers 
inspected the I and V War Areas, which swung north and east of Chungking 
in a broad arc across the natural avenues of a Japanese approach to Chungking. 
These officers reported: 
V. CONCLUSIONS: 

1. The training in the artillery is very poor. A certain amount of technique is taught in 
the schools regarding indirect fire, but in actual practice the greater use is in direct fire, with 
axial methods for indirect fire being used where an obstacle provides protection for the 
guns. 

2. The officer personnel in batteries is poor. How poor is difficult to visualize without 
seeing. In the battery specially selected for our inspection at Laolokow [Lao-ho-kou] the 
battery commander was not of a very high order of intelligence. He was barefooted except 
for sandals. It would probably be very difficult to teach modern artillery methods to men 
of this type. 

3. The entire military system, being built on personal loyalty, prevents it being possible 
to train artillery officers and send them to units indiscriminately as we do m the States. 

4. There is very little activity along the front. Either side could probably push in a salient 
at any point they throught it profitable to do so. No contact between Chinese and Japanese 
troops at the front was observed. 

5. The interest of the Chinese towards any agressive action appears to be quite negligible, 
regardless of their statements that all they need is airplanes, tanks, and artillery in order to 
drive the aggressor from their shores. 

105 Maj. Gen. Yu Ta-wei's ordnance inventory distributed on current U.S. Army Tables of 
Organization and Equipment forms the basis of this computation. General Yu's inventory of Nov 
41 in Memo, Lt Col Arcadi Gluckman, AMMISCA Supply Specialist, for Magruder, 17 Nov 41, 
sub: Ordnance Equipment for Thirty Assault Divisions, AG (AMMISCA) 319.1. The latter survey 
is in Stilwell Numhered File (hereafter SNF — ) 52. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (See 
Bibliographical Note.) 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



37 



6. The small amount of artillery available in the past has resulted in artillery not being 
present in most divisions, but being held centrally under army or higher control. 

7. The maintenance of motor transport is very faulty and makes the use of mechanized 
units a matter of doubtful advisability. 106 

The Generalissimo Warns of Peril 

Shortly after General Magruder and his staff arrived at Chungking the 
Chinese through AMMISCA warned of an imminent Japanese attack on 
Kunming and asked for more arms in accents of urgency that caused grave con- 
cern on the highest levels in Washington. The President, the State Depart- 
ment, and the Joint Board were all involved in deciding how the United States 
should act, while in Chungking Magruder was drawn into those discussions of 
strategy and policy which his directive had sought to prevent. The General- 
issimo's warnings seem in retrospect to have originated before Magruder 
reached Chungking. 

In the fall of 1941 the Chinese made two requests for an emergency issue 
of arms. Neither was related to the initial Soong requests of March 1941. In 
the first, the Generalissimo asked Soong to arrange a complete revision of 
existing lend-lease delivery schedules, saying that he needed 1,000 antiaircraft 
guns by 3 1 October, and a number of pack howitzers by the end of the year. 
The Generalissimo explained he wanted these weapons for the central China 
front. Moreover, he was greatly disappointed that the 13-ton tanks "originally 
promised us" could not be shipped in the near future. With the supply line so 
congested, it was manifestly impossible to have these weapons in China by 
31 October, but the request was promptly forwarded to the War Department, 
which had to explain that the munitions stockpile would permit only 61 
howitzers and 285 .50-caliber machine guns to go by the end of 1941. 107 

The War Department's reply distressed Currie, who wrote Hopkins on 6 
October: "Aside from 500 Bren guns with ammunition which I got from 
Canada, we haven't shipped one gun yet to China on Lend- Lease." 108 The 
Generalissimo's plea brought results. The outcome was that almost a year after 
the Chinese first asked for arms, China Defense Supplies shipped the first 
weapons for the Chinese Army on the SS Tulsa on 22 October. The cargo was 
a most valuable one, with 48 75-mm. howitzers, 11,000 Thompson submachine 
guns, 500 more Bren guns, 100 .50-caliber machine guns, ample ammunition, 
and 35 scout cars. 109 Sent at a time when American forces in the Philippines 

106 Rpt, Lt Cols George W. Sliney and Edwin M. Sutherland. Item 87, AMMISCA Folder 4. 

107 Ltr, Soong to Currie, 24 Sep 41; Ltr, Currie to Patterson, 29 Sep 41; Ltr, Patterson to 
Currie, 1 Oct 41; Ltr, Currie to Hopkins, 6 Oct 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins 
Papers. 

108 Ltr, Currie to Hopkins, 6 Oct 41. China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. 

109 History of the China-Burma-India Theater, 21 May 1942-25 October 1944 f hereafter. 
History of CBI), Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 1. OPD 314.7 CTO, A47-30. (See Bibliographical 
Note.) 1 1 



38 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



were soon to enter battle with obsolete 2.95-inch howitzers, vintage of '98, the 
shipment was a real sacrifice. 

The Generalissimo's first request may have been a testing of the American 
position, for he promptly followed it by sounding the alarm in the strongest 
manner. The Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek welcomed 
Magruder and AMMISCA to Chungking at a conference on 27 October 1941. 
Magruder presented his five-point program for the Generalissimo's considera- 
tion. 110 The Chinese leader was satisfied with Magruder's approach to the issues 
but singled out aviation for the top priority, for he was expecting early arrival 
of the promised lend-lease aircraft. The Generalissimo proposed that 
AMMISCA assume control of and develop the AVG, even at the cost of sep- 
arating it from the Chinese Air Force. Before Magruder could comment on 
these points the Generalissimo introduced grave issues of high policy into 
the conference. 

The Chinese Government feared that Japanese troops from Indochina were 
about to attack Yunnan Province and seize Kunming. This action would close 
the Burma Road and destroy China's last link with the outside world. Actually, 
the seeming threat was but part of a Japanese cover plan to draw attention 
from projected operations elsewhere. 111 To meet this disturbing prospect the 
Generalissimo asked that air support be detached from the RAF at Singapore, 
and that Anglo-American diplomatic pressure be placed on the Japanese. 112 
Magruder concurred in the Generalissimo's views and sent them on to 
Washington, 113 where they resulted in grave concern during October- 
November 1941. The Generalissimo and Magruder met again on 31 October, 
and the Chinese leader again stressed his fear of a Japanese drive on 
Kunming. 114 Magruder sent these warnings as well to Washington. His 
radios asked for guidance, saying that, as far as the U.S. effort in China was 
concerned, the heart of the matter was the Generalissimo's intention of using 
the AVG, without regard to its state of training and equipment, against the 
Japanese if they should attack Yunnan. 115 Thus, despite the precautions of 
those who drew up Magruder's directive, the Chinese had immediately 
involved him in a discussion of major points of U.S. Pacific policy. 

The Chinese reasons for doing so seem clear. Immediately after the dis- 
closure on 24 August 1941 that Japanese- American diplomatic conversations of 
the greatest importance to the peace of the Pacific were under way, the 
Generalissimo had taken diplomatic action to defend China's interests. He told 

"°See fp^2| above. 

111 Imperial General Headquarters Army Directive 969, 20 Sep 41, GHQ, Far East Comd, 
Mil Hist Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army Directives, Vol. II. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

112 Memo, Conf with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, 27 Oct 41. AMMISCA Folder 3. 

113 Rad AMMISCA 28, Magruder to Marshall and Srimsnn ?s Orr 41 Rlr A nod] \ Folder 8, 
Executive Office Files, OPD. (Hereafter, OPD Exec -.) (Se e| Biblio graphical NoteJ 

114 Memo, Conf with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, 31 uct 41. AMMISCA Folder 3. 

115 Rad AMMISCA 32, Magruder to Marshall and Stimson, 31 Oct 41. Bk A (1941), OPD 
Exec 8. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



39 



the President that China's failure to win an ally had given the Chinese a feeling 
of isolation. The Generalissimo suggested that Mr. Roosevelt take the initia- 
tive in arranging either of two alternatives: (1) the Soviet Union and Great 
Britain propose an alliance to China; (2) the United States, Great Britain, and 
the Netherlands Indies include China in their discussions. 116 This latter was 
a clear reference to the staff talks that the latter three powers had conducted 
intermittently since January 1941. The President did not accept either of the 
alternatives, but sought to reassure the Generalissimo by announcing 
AMMISCA's creation. 117 The Generalissimo was not told that Magruder was 
forbidden to engage in staff talks; very likely he assumed that was one major 
reason why Magruder was in Chungking. The Generalissimo could also 
remember the success of his recent plea for arms. 

The Generalissimo's conversations with Magruder were followed shortly 
by a note that came from T. V. Soong, giving China's requirements in muni- 
tions if Yunnan was to be held. 118 Mr. Roosevelt gave the Generalissimo's 
note to Secretary of State Hull, and Soong's note went to Hopkins. 
Conferences followed between the State, War, and Navy Departments, and 
in the Joint Board. The radios from AMMISCA and the Chinese notes received 
the most earnest and searching examination. 

The War Plans Division of the War Department, at Marshall's request, 
examined the problem posed by the Chinese and concluded that aid for 
Kunming could come only from the Royal Air Force at Singapore or the 
American air garrison of Manila. 119 The latter would weaken Manila and risk 
war with Japan; "no involvement should be risked which would lessen the 
main effort against Germany." 120 G-2, War Department General Staff, 
strongly doubted the likelihood of a Japanese attack on Kunming. The Joint 
Board met on 3 November and reaffirmed the desire and the necessity of avoid- 
ing Pacific commitments so as to concentrate on the Atlantic. A note embody- 
ing the views of the military went to the State Department, which shortly 
after thanked the services for their "lucid" analysis, saying that AMMISCA 
had caused the State Department more worry than was necessary. 121 

116 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 404. 

117 Though Mr. Roosevelt informed Soong of AMMISCA's creation on 20 August 1941, the 
President did not issue a press release on AMMISCA until 26 August 1941. Se e|n. 84.| 

118 Memo, Soong for Roosevelt, 31 Oct 41. Folder, China 2, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. 

119 Memo, Gerow for Marshall, 1 Nov 41, sub: Far Eastern Situation. Bk A (1941), OPD 
Exec 8. 

120 Memo, Gerow for Marshall, 1 Nov 41, sub: Immediate Aid to China. Bk A (1941), OPD 
Exec 8. Table A of this memorandum contains the G— 2 estimate. 

121 (1) Memo for Record, Col C. W. Bundy, Chief, Plans Gp, WPD, 1 Nov 41, sub: Imme- 
diate Aid to China. Bk A (1941), OPD Exec 8. (2) Memo for Record, Bundy, 2 Nov 41, sub: 
Notes on Conf with Mr. Currie at State Dept, 1245, 1 Nov 41. Bk A (1941), OPD Exec 8. 
(3) Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll reminded the Joint Board of the decision to make a major effort 
in the Atlantic and pointed out that a major effort in the western Pacific, or a shift of the major 
effort to that ocean to rescue China would force a tremendous shift of merchant ship tonnage. 
Statement of Ingersoll before the JB, 3 Nov 41. Bk A (1941), OPD Exec 8. (4) Dr. Hornbeck 
called General Marshall on the evening of 4 November 1941. Memo, Marshall for Gerow, 5 Nov 
41. Bk A (1941), OPD Exec 8. 



40 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Roosevelt had asked the Chief of Naval Operations and Chief of Staff for 
their views on the AMMISCA and Chinese messages. Their reply defined the 
highest service views on aid to China on the eve of Pearl Harbor. On 4 
November Stark and Marshall told the President that they did not think the 
United States would be justified in undertaking an offensive war against Japan 
to keep her from cutting the Burma Road and taking Kunming. "The only 
existing plans for war against Japan in the Far East are to conduct a defensive 
war, in co-operation with the British and Dutch . . . ." 122 By mid-December 
1941, there would be added U.S. strength in the Philippines, but even so, until 
February or March 1942, intervention against Japan, save in defense of the 
Philippines or Malaya, would be futile. Military counteraction against Japan 
should follow only if Japan attacked the United States, the Netherlands Indies, 
or British Commonwealth, or moved into west or south Thailand, or Timor. 
The Atlantic First policy should be adhered to. With respect to the AMMISCA 
and Chinese notes, they recommended that no U.S. armed forces be sent to 
China; that reinforcement and equipment of the AVG be expedited; that aid 
to China be accelerated; and that no ultimatum be sent to Japan. 123 The State 
Department thoroughly approved of these views. 124 

Meanwhile, Churchill had received a similar appeal from the Generalissimo 
and, fearing that the Japanese might "drift" into war, suggested on 5 Novem- 
ber that another strong warning be sent from Britain and the United States. 
Churchill observed that the policy of gaining time had worked so far, "but 
our joint embargo is steadily forcing the Japanese to decisions for peace or 
war." 125 

Soong appealed directly to Roosevelt on 8 November, asking that the U.S. 
Navy release one-third of its dive bombers to China, to be delivered to the 
Philippines by aircraft carrier and ferried from there to China. On arrival there 
they would be manned by Chennault's pilots. 126 Soong's proposal was another 
indication that the Chinese found it very difficult to understand the organiz- 
ing, training, and equipping of military units. On the eve of Pearl Harbor they 
were proposing to deprive the U.S. Navy's carrier air groups of their most 
effective weapon and themselves of what proved the best fighter group in Asia, 
to produce an extemporized and untrained dive-bomber unit which would 
then be sent into battle without fighter cover. With this scheme went a restate- 
ment of Chinese ordnance requirements without whose satisfaction, Soong 

122 (1) Memo, Marshall and Stark for Roosevelt, 4 Nov 41, sub: Far Eastern Situation. Bk 
A (1941), OPD Exec 8. (2) Report of Congressional Joint Committee on Pearl Harbor Attack 
(Washington, 1946), p. 342. 

12} Memo cited n. 122(1). 

124 Currie and Hull concurred in the views of the War Department. Memo cited n. 121(2). 

125 (1) Report of Congressional Joint Committee . . ., p. 340. (2) Rad, Churchill to the General- 
issimo, undated. Bk A (1941), OPD Exec 8. 

126 Ltr, Soong to President, 8 Nov 41, sub: China and Impending Attack on Burma Road. 
China Pre-Pearl Harbor Folder, Hopkins Papers. The President sent Soong's letter to Hopkins 
with a typed note dated 12 November 1941: "What can we do about this?" 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



41 



stated, the Chinese could not hope to resist a Japanese attack on Kunming. 

The President and Hopkins sent Soong's note to the War Department. 
Marshall and Stimson personally reviewed the ordnance situation and found 
the cupboard almost bare. In effect, Soong was told that he would have to be 
content with what was already earmarked for China, plus some 2.95-inch 
howitzers and 3-inch antiaircraft guns that would be rushed from the Philip- 
pines when their replacements arrived. The Generalissimo was reminded 
through Soong that twenty-four nations in all were clamoring for lend-lease 
aid, and that the United States, in addition, had its own forces to equip. The 
best the United States could do in response to Soong's appeal was to speed 
the flow of lend-lease aid and facilitate the building-up of the American 
Volunteer Group. Soong was further informed that the United States was 
reinforcing the Philippines, whose garrison, with the Pacific Fleet, would be a 
significant factor in the situation. 127 

In mid-November, General Marshall prepared a reply to Magruder's queries 
of 28 and 31 October. An exchange of memoranda in July 1941 with the State 
Department on a lend-lease training program for Chinese airmen influenced 
Marshall's answer that the Chinese would have to decide when the AVG was 
to be used. At that time General Marshall, who had experience of Chinese 
methods and temperament, proposed to Currie that as a quid pro quo the United 
States receive certain guarantees from the Chinese regarding the command and 
staff functions of the Americans with the AVG, and that Magruder have the 
responsibility of fixing the date the AVG entered combat. 128 Such a proposal 
was an attempt by Marshall to use lend-lease as a bargaining device toward 
gaining greater efficiency and a degree of self-help from the Chinese. The State 
Department and Currie had demurred, the latter writing, "In view of the 
dependence by China upon us for continued aid, it is not anticipated that any 
difficulty of non-co-operation will be experienced." 129 

AMMISCA's Appraisal of the Thirty Division Program 

Among the orders Magruder took with him to Chungking was one to 
report as soon as possible on the Chinese capabilities for offensive action in 

127 (1) These curt summaries should not be taken as indicating any brusqueness in the letters 
themselves, which were sympathetic and friendly. The items desired by the Chinese were those 
desperately needed by all. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 408-09. (3) Ltr, Soong to 
Stimson, 6 Nov 41; Ltr, Stimson to Soong, 12 Nov 41, sub: Der of Yunnan and Burma Road. 
AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. (4) Report of Congressional Joint Committee . . ., p. 343. 

128 (1) Ltr, Marshall to Currie, 5 Jul 41, sub: Aviation Aid to China. Item 10, AG (AMMISCA) 
336.2. (2) Ltr, Marshall to Currie, 15 Jul 41. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. (3) Min, Conf in 
OSW, 0915, 21 Jul 41. OSW Conf, A45-466. (4) Ltr, Currie to Soong, 23 Jul 41. Item 13, AG 
(AMMISCA) 336.2. (5) Ltr, Currie to Marshall, 6 Aug 41; Ltr, Marshall to Currie, 30 Aug 41. 
AG 336.2 (7-30-42). (6) WPD 4389-15. (7) Rad AMMISCA 82, Marshall to Magruder, 15 Nov 
41. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. 

129 Ltr, 6 Aug 41, cited n. 128t5^. 



42 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



1941. 130 From surveys of China's twenty arsenals, from observer reports of the 
central China and Indochina border fronts, and from studies of Chinese service 
schools, Magruder concluded that, if the Chinese were given arms and were 
willing to use them effectively, a considerable number of divisions could 
execute diversions or even substantial local offensives. 131 Subsequent events 
showed that the War Department concurred. 

But on what basis were these arms to be distributed? Soong's programs of 
March 1941 had implied thirty divisions, but final confirmation did not come 
until 17 November when Maj. Gen. Yu Ta-wei, head of the Chinese ordnance 
departments, told Lt. Col. Arcadi Gluckman of AMMISCA that for some time 
the National Military Council had planned to create thirty kung chen tut (or 
assault-on-fortified-position) divisions. Ten thousand strong, the new units were 
to be organized into ten armies and located in strategic defensive positions. 
At the same time, General Yu stated that twelve divisions had been designated 
and the remainder were under consideration. General Yu told Gluckman that 
Chinese arsenals could furnish rifles for the thirty divisions plus many of their 
infantry weapons, but that powder and metals for ammunition were non- 
existent in China. He claimed that most of the 800-odd pieces of field artillery 
were being distributed among the twelve divisions, but that spare parts and 
ammunition for them, especially for those brought from the Soviet Union, 
were almost exhausted. This plan was still tentative, for the Generalissimo had 
not yet approved it. 132 

Realizing that Soong had already submitted most of General Yu's needs for 
procurement, Magruder radioed Stimson that little more could be done on 
materiel until the Thirty Division Program had the Generalissimo's unqualified 
approval. For future guidance of the War Department Magruder recommended 
that ground force materiel be released to the Chinese on the following priori- 
ties: (a) arsenal metals, explosives, and machinery; (b) finished small arms 
ammunition; (c) infantry weapons; (d) organic division artillery; (e) corps 
artillery. Furthermore, he urged the War Department to remove the Chinese 
supply agencies in Washington from the lend-lease field. 133 

AMMISCA learned too that the Generalissimo contemplated establishing 
two training centers, one near Kunming, the other near Kweiyang where cadres 
of the thirty divisions might learn to use lend-lease arms. During October and 
November 1941, however, the National Military Council hesitated to locate 
the centers or name their commanders. Despite this procrastination, Magruder 

I30 (l) JB Paper 354 (Ser 716), 19 Sep 41. (2) JB Paper 325 (Ser 729), 25 Sep 41. 

Weekly AMMISCA Diary (Nov 41). AG (AMMISCA) 319.1. (2) AMMISCA Folder 5. 

132 Memo, Gluckman for Magruder, 17 Nov 41, sub: Ord Equipment for Thirty Assault Divs. 
AG (AMMISCA) 319.1. Magruder's first indorsement was dated 7 March 1942. The long delay 
reflects the fact that Chinese Government agencies in Chungking did not until then come to a very 
tentative agreement on the Thirty Division Program's various aspects, such as the choice of the 
divisions to be re-equipped. 

1}} Rad AMMISCA 12, Magruder to AGWAR, 20 Nov 41; Rad AMMISCA 45, Magruder to 
AG WAR, 11 Nov 41. AMMISCA Radio File, Job-11. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



asked AMMISCA's Washington office to dispatch "task force specialists" to 
aid the Chinese in setting up tank, infantry, and artillery schools, 1311 These 
requirements were being studied when war came. 

Before Pearl Harbor, AMMISCA personnel expressed two differing views 
on China. Familiar with China, Magruder was neither surprised nor depressed 
by the contrast between Chinese propaganda in the United States and Chinese 
action in China. By estimating what might still be done by tactfully applying 
American technique, Magruder reported to the Secretary of War and the Chief 
of Staff in tones of mild optimism regarding the creation of an effective Chinese 
Army. Magruder considered he was not there to describe or expose China to 
his superiors, many of whom had served in China, but rather to aid China in 
helping itself. 

Nevertheless, many of Magrudefs assistants were surprised and disillu- 
sioned by what they saw in China. As these officers traveled about China, 
visited Chinese headquarters, chatted with Chinese officers, and inspected 
Chinese establishments they saw for themselves the manner in which the 
Chinese were resisting Japan, Inevitably, they appraised the Chinese war effort 
as would professional soldiers, and their letters began to flow back to friends 
in the War Department and to families at home couched in terms of angry 
disillusion. ' " Typical of many such was a report to General Magruder by Lt. 
Col. George W Sliney T summing up the impressions of his inspection trips in 
October and November: 

The following general impressions were gained through conversations with Chinese 
officers and by observations of conditions of front-line activity and of training, during my 
visits to the 1st, 5th, and Sth War Areas, to the Training Center at Cha Tso, and to the Field 
Artillery School at Tuyin. Such matters arc not subject to proof, but should receive con- 
sideration in deciding any Allied plan of action. 

(a) Several Chinese officers have stated to me that they believed China might be able to 
win this war without further fighting. They expected international diplomatic pressure to 
force Japan out of China. I feel that this attitude combined with many months of inactive 
defense has created a non-aggressive attitude in the soldiers that will take time to overcome. 

(b) The general idea in the United States that China has fought Japan to a standstill* 
and has had many glorious victories, is a delusion. Japan has generally been able to push 
forward any place she wanted to. She has stopped mostly because of the fact that a certain 
number of troops can safely hold only a certain number of miles of front without allowing 
dangerous holes to exist in it. The will to fight an aggressive action does not yet exist in the 
Chinese Army. If the Government of the United States is counting on such intent it should 
be cautioned against being too sure of any large-scale offensive action at present, This 
attitude is being changed by diplomatic persuasion from without, but it will require well- 

'"{0 Rad AMMISCA. 60, Magruder to AG WAR, 20 Nov 41. Job-11. (2) Memo, Eglin for 
G-l, WDGS, 22 Nov 41, sub: Task Off lor U.S. Mil Mission ro China, AG { AMMISCA) 319-1, 
(3) Rad AMMISCA 76, Magruder to AG WAR, 3 Dec 41. lob-ll. 

l " Not only do the reports and letters in AG ( AMMISCA) 319,1, AMMISCA Folder 1, and 
WPD 4389-102 present these rwo differing views, but interviews with Magruder and former 
officers in AMMISCA support these statements, Correspondence with former AMMISCA officers 
in HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. 



44 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



directed propaganda from within to give the proper mental attitude to the soldiers who are 
to do the fighting. 

(c) Many small things all pointing in the same direction have caused me to have a 
feeling, stronger than a suspicion, that the desire of the Chinese for more modern materiel 
was not, before December 8th, for the purpose of pressing the war against Japan, but was 
to make the Central Government safe against insurrection after diplomatic pressure by other 
nations had forced Japan out of China. 

(d) The method of employment of artillery by the Chinese is very inefficient due to the 
poor standard of education of the officer personnel. In releasing American artillery to the 
Chinese this fact should be considered, as well as the relative likelihood of its actually being 
employed by the United States or by China. 

It is recommended that the above ideas be considered by the American Military Mission 
in making plans, and be presented to the War Department for consideration in connection 
with other available opinion in planning any War Department action in this hemisphere. 136 

AMMISCA, Lend-Lease, and the Line of Communications 

Following his initial conferences with the Generalissimo, Magruder flew 
between Chungking, Kunming, Lashio, Rangoon, and Singapore, acting as 
trouble shooter for his five projects. 137 His chief concern, however, was the line 
of communications to Kunming, since all AMMISCA's projects depended on 
a flow of materiel from the port of Rangoon, up the Burma railway and high- 
way to Lashio, and then over the road to China. This problem of the line of 
communications was to vex all Magruder's successors as it vexed him; in many 
ways it was the principal problem of the American effort in China, Burma, and 
India. 

Like the Chinese Army, the port of Rangoon and the Burma Road had been 
fully described in reports from U.S. representatives in Burma and Yunnan. By 
fall 1941 local American representatives believed that the Burma Road was the 
worst logistical bottleneck in aid to China. There were physical limitations 
because it was not an all-weather highway and so suffered during the monsoon 
rains. Communications along its length were woefully inadequate. There were 
sanitary limitations because it passed through a malarial belt. Since the road's 
715 miles were the last route over which goods could move to a starving 
Chinese economy, the Burma Road was the center of interest to speculators 
and traders, and a battleground for politics— national and local, Burmese, 
Chinese, and British. 138 

Attempting to control the road's traffic, the Generalissimo had piled agency 
on agency, over which his cousin, General Yu Fei-peng, presided. 139 Summa- 
rizing this situation, a military attache report of August 1941 remarked: 

136 Memo, Sliney for Magruder, 10 Dec 41. AMMISCA Folder 4. 
157 Weekly AMMISCA Diary (Nov 41). AG (AMMISCA) 319.1. 

1}8 (1) Ltr, Lt Col David D. Barrett, Asst MA Chungking, to G-2, WDGS, 6 Apr 41, sub: 
Burma Road. AG (AMMISCA) 611. (2) Rpt, Austin C. Brady, American Consul, Rangoon, 
Burma, to Secy State, 14 June 41, sub: Gen Transportation Conditions Affecting Shipt of Supplies 
through Burma into China. Item 2, Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. 

1}9 American Aid to China. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



45 



The foreigner who surveys the Road is inclined to jump to the conclusion that a com- 
petent man, backed by the Generalissimo, can administer it efficiently without much 
difficulty. He forgets that the Generalissimo is not the absolute dictator of China, and that 
even if he himself were to devote all of his time to the efficient administration of the Road, 
he might not be able to overcome the myriad difficulties which would face him in the way 
of vested interests, political intrigues, distrust, jealousy, and even enmity of important 
subordinates, and above all, the general inability of the Chinese efficiently to administer 
anything through centralized control. 140 

Surveying the problem, lend-lease officials in Washington learned that 
British traffic figures for Lashio were greater than Chinese border figures at 
Wanting, which in turn were 50 percent more than at Kunming. The unmistak- 
able inference was that goods brought over what was then termed by the press 
"China's life line" were simply vanishing into the countryside for private profit. 
Customs figures indicated that, in May 1941, 25 percent of the tonnage arriving 
at Kunming was yarn and piece goods, 27 percent military goods and metals, 
and 39 percent was spare parts and gasoline exclusive of what the trucks car- 
ried for their own use. The last was a most important item, for trucks had to 
carry their own fuel. As a result, one estimate was that to lay down 5,000 tons 
at Chungking, 14,000 had to leave Lashio. When it is recalled that Chungking 
in turn was many hundreds of miles from the Chinese lines, which meant a 
further immense effort to move supplies eastward, it can be seen that the road 
was hardly China's life-line. But it offered the hope that under competent and 
honest management it might be made to carry 30,000 tons a month of ordnance, 
nonferrous metals, explosives, and gasoline, as against a trickle of oil and cloth 
for the bazaars, and a few arms for the war lords' praetorian guards. 141 

In August of 1941 Mr. David G. Arnstein and two associates prepared a 
report for the Generalissimo (copies sent to Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Hopkins) 
which summarized the impressions made on them by an inspection of the 
Burma Road and the Chinese agencies operating on it. Arnstein reported that no 
less than sixteen Chinese agencies operated on the Burma Road. All were heavily 
overstaffed with inexperienced executives, their relatives, hangers-on, and so 
forth. No central authority regulated traffic or controlled drivers. Trucks were 
overloaded, recklessly driven, and given no systematic maintenance. Vehicles 
moved in convoys of fifteen to twenty-five, which would all halt when one 
truck was stopped for repairs or to have its papers checked. Lucrative private 
trucking crowded the road as speculators in Rangoon bought trucks, loaded 
them with bazaar goods, and after two or three trips sold them in Kunming 
at a great profit. The profits of private trade and employment made govern- 
ment drivers quit unless they too could smuggle goods and passengers into 

140 MA Rpt (China) IG 4610, 23 Aug 41, sub: Present Status of Burma Road. AG 
(AMMISCA) 611. 

l41 (l) Ltr, Currie to MacMorland, 7 Jul 41; Memo, Miles for MacMorland, 8 Jul 41, sub: China 
Aid Program; Memo (unused), MacMorland for Miles, 10 Jul 41. Folder, China Lend-Lease 
Corresp (Apr-Oct 41), ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. (2) American Aid to China. 



46 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



China. Arnstein's report, which the Generalissimo carried about with him for 
some days, and by which he was most impressed, recommended sweeping 
changes, including the significant one that arms have priority over consumer 
goods and that a foreigner be appointed to run the road with full powers. 142 
Putting the final seal on his work by declining such a post, Arnstein then left 
China. 

The port of Rangoon itself was no bottleneck, but administrative difficulties 
in Rangoon wasted time. l4i Customs regulations were sources of infinite diffi- 
culty, for the transit of lend-lease supplies and of goods bought by the Chinese 
with pre-lend-lease credits involved importing and re-exporting. The semi- 
autonomous Government of Burma had a 1-percent transit tax on all items 
bound for China which of course included lend-lease aid. Arnstein's report, and 
later communications from AMMISCA, directed such attention to this tax on 
the American effort to support China and divert the Japanese from Malaya and 
the Netherlands Indies that the British Foreign Office finally announced Great 
Britain would assume the tax burden by giving the Burmese an equivalent 
subsidy. 

The formalities of compliance with customs and the transit tax were time 
wasting. For example, each vehicle assembled had in effect to be checked into 
Burma at Rangoon and checked out again at the border. Chinese and Burmese 
Government agencies were suspicious of each other and filled the ears of 
AMMISCA personnel with tales of what they suffered at the hands of their 
opposite numbers. All this tended to slow the movement of goods through 
Burma. 

The major physical bottleneck in the Burma line of communications was 
the Gokteik gorge between Mandalay and Lashio. There the Burma Railways 
climb 3,000 feet in twenty-seven miles, about half the distance at a grade of 1 
foot in every 25. Trains had to be broken into sections and hauled by hill- 
climbing locomotives. Because of this, and because the Burma Railways also 
had to serve the needs of the Burmese economy, Burmese rail officials could 
promise the Chinese but 550 tons a day to be laid down at Lashio in November. 
Deliveries in that month suggested the performance would not match the 
promise. There was also a road from Mandalay to Lashio; it, too, had a very 
limited capacity, thanks to one particularly bad stretch. 

The result of this maladministration and limited capacity was a massive 
congestion of the line of communications to China. Lend-lease material was 
pouring into Burma via Rangoon far faster than it moved up the Burma Road 

142 Rpt, Arnstein, Harold C. Davis, and Marco F. Hellman, to the Generalissimo, 9 Aug 41, 
sub: Present Trucking Opns as Conducted on Burma Road and Recommendations for Their Im- 
provement. AG (AMMISCA) 231.5. Arnstein completed his survey as an employee of the Chinese 
Government. 

143 Sources consulted for this section: (1) American Aid to China. (2) Rpt cite dl n. 138 ( 2>| 
(3) Rpt, Maj John E. Russell, AMMISCA Specialist, to Magruder, 12 Nov 41, sub: Lend-Lease 
Supply and Transportation in Burma. Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



47 



from Lashio. At Lashio it was added to a stockpile of arms and raw materials 
purchased by the Chinese with credits granted earlier. In July 1941, of the 
79,000 tons of Chinese goods stored in Rangoon, only 22,000 tons were truck- 
able. At that month's rate of moving goods, eight months would have been 
needed to clear the stockpile, yet more was coming in constantly. At the end 
of the rail line, Lashio, 30,000 tons were stored, a four month's backlog. 

Soong's March 1941 lend-lease program had faced the line of communica- 
tions problem. 144 The program included trucks, road-building materiel, spare 
parts, and maintenance facilities for the Burma Road, and materiel for the 
projected narrow-gauge Yunnan-Burma Railway. This latter would have made 
a dramatic improvement in the situation could it have been completed. Currie 
had laid the scheme before the President, and the Chinese Government had 
presented it to British authority, which had been interested in such a railway 
since 1938. Both the British and the President approved the idea, and the 
Chinese began their section in April 1941. Lend-lease funds introduced an 
American interest, and the War Department sent Maj. John E. Ausland, a 
former official of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, to Burma. The 
Government of Burma assigned Sir John Rowland as Director of Construction 
and the Chinese provided the services of Brig. Gen. Tseng Yang-fu, Vice-Com- 
missioner of Communications. Though their responsibilities cut across inter- 
national lines, the triumvirate co-operated in a wholehearted fashion. 

By September 1941 the Office of the Chief of Engineers had 90 percent of 
the required equipment and supplies for the Yunnan-Burma Railway on order. 
The War Department bought an abandoned 125-mile stretch of narrow-gauge 
line from the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and began dismantling 
it for shipment to Burma. Shipments of supplies for the line increased as 
autumn wore on. But greater familiarity with the terrain and with the project 
began to reveal discouraging obstacles. The War Department found that pro- 
curement of diesel locomotives and rolling stock would delay the project until 
late in 1942. Meanwhile, Major Ausland's report suggested that bridging the 
Salween River and completing certain tunnels in Yunnan would also delay the 
railway until the winter of 1942^43. In addition to these problems, Ausland 
reported that the British feared the monsoon rains would make the Yunnan- 
Burma Railway a six-year effort. There was also a problem of health, for the 
200,000 conscripted Yunnanese laborers were working in areas where a deadly 
form of malaria was endemic. To alleviate this, Currie and Hopkins sent a Public 
Health commission to aid in mosquito control. 145 When war came, shipments 
of railway materiel for Burma ceased; shipments en route were diverted to India, 
where they found use in other transportation projects in support of China. 

144 Folder, China Railways and Railway Requirements, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. This folder 
and AG (AMMISCA) 453 and 611 outline the scope and size of the Yunnan-Burma Railway 
project. 

145 American Aid to China. 



48 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Surveying this often depressing scene, AMMISCA urged the War Depart- 
ment to send materiel and experts to increase Burma Road capacity. The 
Department did its best to comply. General Motors was given a contract to 
assemble trucks in Rangoon. Forty-five technicians left on 10 November to 
help with supply and maintenance problems. Within the United States, ware- 
house facilities were expanded to speed movement of lend-lease to shipside. 
In November 14,561 tons left Newport News, Virginia, and more was piling 
up to await shipping space. But these measures were at best palliatives, and 
AMMISCA warned that tighter controls over lend-lease purchases would have 
to be established and maintained until all Chinese stockpiles in Burma had 
been cut to more manageable proportions. In October 1941 more goods moved 
from Lashio to China than arrived from Rangoon. This was not, however, all 
lend-lease aid, most of which was held in Rangoon by the congested lines of 
communication. 146 

Recommendations to Washington on the logistics problem were made on 
12 November and had conclusive effects when the Chinese lend-lease program 
was appraised after Pearl Harbor. AMMISCA suggested that there be no more 
purchasing or shipping of goods for China until the Burma stockpile was 
inventoried to see what was actually at hand. When purchasing was resumed, 
AMMISCA suggested it should not be done by Chinese agencies in Wash- 
ington, which were ignorant of the real supply situation in China, but by the 
War Department in accord with AMMISCA recommendations. Other sugges- 
tions were that ship sailings from Newport News be staggered to avoid choking 
Rangoon with undeliverable goods; that title to lend-lease be kept in U.S. 
hands until it was actually delivered to the Chinese in China, so that it should 
not be the object of squabbles and corruption among outside parties; and that, 
as a matter of policy, goods procurable locally should not be sent on lend-lease, 
so as to end, among several other objectionable practices, that of sending lead 
to one of the world's greatest sources of nonferrous metals. 147 

Summary 

As November passed into December, and the Japanese task force drew 
closer to Pearl Harbor, the status of the American effort to aid China was: 

1. A clearly defined concept of the reasons for giving arms to China had 
been framed by the military and approved by the President. 

2. The War Department had weighed its resources against world-wide 
demands on them, a nd had prog ramed a series of shipments to China on which 
to base procurement. ! (Table 3 i ncludes 1941 shipments.) 

3. In framing this program the War Department had implicitly accepted 
the Chinese proposals to (a) create a modern Chinese Air Force, (b) institute 

146 AG (A MMISCA) 319 .1. 

147 Rpt cited ln. 14i (?TI 



AID TO CHINA INVOLVES THE U.S. ARMY 



49 



and maintain an efficient line of communications into China, and (c) arm thirty 
divisions. 

4. A military mission had been sent to China to aid the Chinese in asking 
for and using American materiel and services. 

There was, however, one gap in this program. There was no planning to 
meet the effect of war in the Pacific by a combined Sino- American effort. Such 
staff talks had been held between British and Americans, but there had been 
none between Chinese and Americans. Partly as a result of this, Magruder had 
no directive as to what his mission would be were war to result from the 
current Japanese- American crisis in the Pacific. 



Table 3 — Lent>-Lease Supplies Shipped to China: May 1941- April 1942 a 
[In Long Tons] 



Type 


Total 


1941 


1942 


May 


Jun 


Jul 


Aug 


Sep 


Oct 


Nov 


Dec 


Jan 


Feb 


Mar 


Apr 


Total 


110,864 


7,552 


4,917 


5,452 


8,099 


9,146 


9,803 


14,561 


7,145 


9,920 


6.487 


20,343 


7,439 




24,703 


3,125 


5 


3,112 


82 


250 


1,807 


4,661 


1,804 


2,388 


256 


7,121 


92 


Aviation 


2,533 

















246 


144 


6 


264 


58 


1,123 


692 


Airplanes 


1,657 

















53 


130 





200 


44 


687 


543 


Airplane Parts. 


876 

















193 


14 


6 


64 


14 


436 


149 


Medical .... 


1,138 











22 





6 


120 





50 


28 


228 


684 


Motor 




























Transport 


33,536 


1,998 


1,512 





5,346 


6,643 


4,153 


5,701 


1.468 


2,477 


1,871 


2,158 


209 




29,081 


1.930 


1,287 





4,440 


6,473 


3,826 


4,906 


1,252 


1,754 


1,367 


1,671 


175 


Spare Parts . . . 


4,455 


68 


225 





906 


170 


327 


795 


216 


723 


504 


487 


34 


Ordnance. . . 


11,398 











91 


30 


784 


18 


364 


1,044 


496 


3,571 


5,000 




1,286 

















114 


14 


9 


297 


23 


635 


194 


Ammunition . . 


8,725 











91 


30 


625 


3 


347 


461 


469 


2,129 


4,570 


Miscellaneous. 


1,387 

















45 


1 


8 


286 


4 


807 


236 


Petroleum . . 


14,927 


2,404 


1,970 


728 


15 


1,500 





1.931 


9 


195 


837 


4,929 


409 




5,562 


1,155 











1.500 





1.931 


9 





5 


553 


409 


Motor Trans- 






























9,365 


1.249 


1,970 


728 


15 














195 


832 


4,376 





Road Build- 






























19,365 





1,410 


1,605 


2,496 


665 


2.125 


1,351 


2,543 


2,801 


2,938 


1,078 


353 




12,593 





1,410 


1,605 


1,461 


615 


919 


996 


1,967 


1,547 


1,550 


523 





Machinery 


1,398 











40 





570 


21 


53 


199 





191 


324 


Tools and 




























Equip- 
























364 




ment 


5,374 











995 


50 


636 


334 


523 


1,055 


1,388 


29 




651 

















105 


21 


106 


281 


3 


135 





Textiles .... 


2,613 


25 


20 


7 


47 


58 


577 


614 


845 


420 












° Loss of Burma prevented delivery of some of this tonnage. 

Source: Memo, 1st Lt William S. Brewster for Lt Col Lucien C. Strong, 20 May 42. AG(AMMISCA) 319.1. 



CHAPTER II 



War Creates a China Theater 
and a U.S. Task Force to China 

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the 
Republic of China, the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Netherlands 
Indies, and the United States found themselves allies at war with Japan. To 
make their joint effort effective called for co-operation and mutual assistance 
in the highest sense. The United States had engaged in strategic planning with 
the British and Dutch and some arrangements for co-operation with them in 
the event of war had been made. There had been nothing like that with the 
Chinese, and, as has been noted, General Magruder, Chief of the American 
Military Mission to China, was ordered by the War Department not to engage 
in staff talks with them. The United States, however, was committed to equip 
a modern Chinese Army and Air Force. Logic suggested that the next step was 
to reach a satisfactory working relationship with the Chinese and to develop 
an understanding on what the Chinese would do with the lend-lease they 
received. For their part, the Chinese were actively interested in taking the role 
of a great power beside their new-found allies. 

On 8 December 1941 the Generalissimo made the first of a series of pro- 
posals to create an over-all plan for the conduct of war in the Pacific and, 
assuming an early entrance of Russia into the war against Japan, to make an 
alliance of the United States, the Soviet Union, the Republic of China, and 
the British Commonwealth. He convoked a meeting of General Magruder; the 
British Envoy, Sir Archibald Kerr Clark Kerr; the British Military Attache, 
General Dennys; China's Minister of Defense, Gen. Ho Ying-chin; and a 
senior Foreign Ministry officer, Dr. Quo Tai-shi. Madame Chiang was also 
present. 1 At this 10 December meeting the Generalissimo presented his pro- 

1 Madame Chiang, sister of Mr. T. V. Soong, had spent many years in the United States. After 
being privately tutored in Macon, Ga., Madame Chiang entered Wellesley College, from which 
she graduated with honors. As the Generalissimo's wife, she entered actively into public life, 
both in China and on the world stage. In China, she held many governmental posts, among them 
that of secretary-general of the Chinese Commission on Aeronautical Affairs and that of chairman 
of the Women's Advisory Council of the New Life Movement. During the war she became a 
patroness of the International Red Cross and in the United States was honorary chairman of 
United China Relief. Madame Chiang received many awards from philanthropic societies in the 
United States for her charitable work in China. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



51 



posals for Allied unity and a four-power pact. The Generalissimo suggested: 

1. The United States should propose a tomprehensive plan for joint war action for 
America, Britain, China, Netherlands East Indies, and Russia. 

2. Immediately and before Russia participates in the [Pacific] war, the United States 
should take the leadership in initiating a comprehensive plan for action of the United States, 
Britain, Netherlands East Indies, and China in the western Pacific. 

3. The locale for joint working out of details of the ABCD Plan should be Chungking. 

4. There should result a military pact among the ABCDR for mutual assistance. 2 

In representing the United States in discussions of these matters with the 
Generalissimo, Magruder was handicapped because his directive said nothing 
of what line he should take in the event of war. His solution was to draft a 
proposed directive over 10 and 11 December and to radio it to Washington for 
approval. 3 Until that approval came on 21 December, he acted in accordance 
with his own best judgment, which suggested to him that he impress on the 
Chinese the urgent necessity of China's taking vigorous action to contain as 
many Japanese troops as possible. Because of his connection with lend-lease, 
Magruder occupied a most important position in the eyes of his Allied 
colleagues, but his discretion was strictly limited by his prewar directives. The 
British representatives were principally interested in transfers from the Chinese 
lend-lease stockpile in Burma to strengthen the small, poorly equipped garrison 
of that vital area and in having the American Volunteer Group made part of 
Burma's air defense. Thus, there was little the British and American representa- 
tives in Chungking could do on their own authority with the Generalissimo's 
proposals. 4 

Notes from the Chinese Government carried the Generalissimo's plan to 
Moscow and Washington. The first Soviet reaction was not unfavorable, the 
only condition being that a joint plan for co-operation by the Great Powers 
must precede any declaration of war by the USSR against Japan. The Soviet 
military attache told the Generalissimo that there must be such a plan already 
and that the Generalissimo was surely aware of it. Then a few days later a note 
from Marshal Stalin to the Generalissimo dismissed the project for the time 
being. China was assured that the Soviets would eventually fight Japan, but it 
was explained that the war against Germany had overriding priority and that 
preparation for war against Japan would take time. 5 

On the 15th came Roosevelt's reply, suggesting conferences at Chungking, 
Singapore, and Moscow to arrive at preliminary plans to pass on to Washing- 

2 Memo, Confs with Generalissimo, MacMorland, recorder, 8, 10 Dec 41. AMMISCA 
Folder 7. 

3 Rad AMMISCA 94, Magruder to AG WAR, 11 Dec 41. AMMISCA Radio File, Job-11. 

4 MacMorland Diary, 10, 16, 18 Dec 41. 

5 (1) Rad AMMISCA 95, Magruder to Marshall, 11 Dec 41; Rad, Stalin to Chiang, 12 Dec 41. 
Bk 1, OPD Exec 8. (2) Stalin's message was by no means the first indication that the Soviets 
would fight Japan. On 13 October 1941 the Soviet Union "suggested preliminary staff discussions 
for military action against Japan. This proposal was never acted upon by our government." Memo, 
Brig. Gen. Raymond E. Lee, Actg ACofS, G-2, WDGS, 12 Feb 42, sub: Int Estimate. Item 5, 
Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 



52 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



ton by 20 December. The President expressed the hope that this might lead to 
a permanent organization. 6 Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff were 
expected in Washington in late December to revise existing plans and prepare 
new ones; the President's deadline was obviously related to that. The 
Generalissimo responded by calling a conference to meet at Chungking on 17 
December. 7 

The Chungking Conferences 

The gathering did not convene in the way the Generalissimo intended, 
because the two senior Army officers who were to represent the British Com- 
monwealth and the United States were unable to arrive on 17 December. 
General Wavell, the British delegate, was Commander-in-Chief, India, and 
from 12 December responsible for Burma as well as India. He was pressed for 
time in trying to organize his new command for defense against the Japanese, 
and so unable to attend. The American delegate, Maj. Gen. George H. Brett, 
an air officer, had been ordered to China to investigate the possibility of basing 
heavy bombers there, and the War Department took advantage of this cir- 
cumstance to make him its representative. 8 He was then in Burma. 

Magruder feared to betray the conference by references in a radio, and so 
Brett did not know why he was so urgently wanted in Chungking. Realizing 
the strategic importance of Burma, Brett devoted himself to trying to solve 
the problem created by the presence of Chinese stockpiles adjacent to defenders 
badly in need of arms. Brett suggested that they be transferred to the British, 
urging Magruder to go to Rangoon, even as Magruder was urging Brett to 
fly to Chungking. 9 

So the Generalissimo's 17 December conference saw only the formal presen- 
tation of the Generalissimo's plan for Allied unity in the Far East, a plan which 
provided for an Allied general staff at Chungking. Magruder and his British 
colleagues approved in principle but could do nothing more pending the 
arrival of Generals Wavell and Brett for the postponed major conference. 10 
There the question of providing central direction for the Allied war in the 
Pacific rested until the conferences of 22 and 23 December. 

Simultaneously with Chinese efforts to make of the United States, Great 
Britain, China, and the Netherlands Indies (for that portion of the Dutch 
possessions was taking vigorous naval action in support of Britain and 
America) a real coalition in which they would share on equal terms, there 
were in Chungking discussions on offensive action by the Chinese armies, the 

6 Rad, Roosevelt to Chiang, 14 Dec 41. Item 8, Conf File, Dec 41, CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 
The message arrived in Chungking on 15 December 1941. 

7 Memo, Conf with Generalissimo, MacMorland, recorder, 16 Dec 41. AMMISCA Folder 7. 

8 Rad, Consul Gen, Cairo, to Consul Gen, Chungking, 12 Dec 41. Conf File, Dec 41, CT 
23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

9 MacMorland Diary, 17, 18, 20 Dec 41. 

10 (1) Memo cited n. 7. (2) Memo, Conf with Generalissimo, MacMorland, recorder, 17 Dec 
41. AMMISCA Folder 7. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



53 



use of the AVG in Burma, lend-lease transfers, and the reinforcement of Burma 
by the Chinese. Hong Kong was now under heavy Japanese attack, and both 
AMMISCA and the War Department believed that the Japanese attacks on 
Allied Far Eastern territory were made by troops drawn from China. To 
repeated representations, including some very frank remarks by Magruder to 
General Yu, head of China's ordnance establishment, the Chinese made no 
concrete response. The impression of AMMISCA's chief of staff was that the 
Chinese would shun offensive action, wait until their allies had won the war, 
and then use their jealously husbanded supplies for the solution of the Com- 
munist problem. 11 

In response to suggestions from Dennys that the Chinese do something to 
relieve the pressure on Hong Kong, the Chinese said that they intended to use 
seven armies in the relief, with small-scale activities by 17 December and effec- 
tive operations by the end of the month. Instead of holding its mainland 
positions for thirty days as Dennys promised, the Hong Kong garrison was 
forced from them in three. 12 Indiscreetly, the British told the Chinese Minister 
of War that they planned to employ two bomber squadrons in China if the 
Commander-in-Chief, Singapore, could spare them. 13 Asked later if he could 
relieve Hong Kong without support from these twenty-four aircraft, General 
Ho seized on the remark to say his troops could at least distract the Japanese. 
On or about the 22d the Chinese felt that a Japanese threat to Changsha forced 
them to abandon their operations in support of Hon g Kong. 14 Hong Kong 
fell on Christmas Day. (For Japanese plans in China see |Map 1.) | 

The Chinese were generous with the AVG, which was a part of their Air 
Force. Initially, they agreed to put part of it in Burma; the air warning net 
there was known to be poor. When, in the early days of the Pacific war, Allied 
aircraft were destroyed on the ground at Pearl Harbor and at Clark Field in 
the Philippines, the Chinese were disturbed and changed their minds, saying 
that Colonel Chennault (Chinese Air Force) had decided the inadequate net 
would force him to withdraw from Burma to Yunnan. Dennys observed that 
Chennault had probably been spoiled by the excellent warning net in China, 
that the ample warning given there could hardly be expected in Burma. To this 
the Generalissimo retorted that he did not want his aircraft destroyed on the 
ground. Despite his apprehensions he finally committed the AVG to the 
defense of Burma and kept it there throughout the First Burma Campaign. 15 

The questions of Chinese reinforcements and lend-lease transfers for Burma 
reached the crisis point on 23 and 25 December. Each was some weeks in 
developing. From the day the war began the Chinese offered to send a large 

11 MacMorland Diary, 16, 18 Dec 41. 

12 Rad, AMMISCA to MILAD, Washington, 14 Dec 41. Int Summary 2, AMMISCA Folder 7. 
13 (1) Memo, Conf with Chinese Minister of War, Gen Ho, MacMorland, recorder, 16 Dec 41. 

AMMISCA Folder 7. (2) MacMorland Diary, 13, 14 Dec 41. 

14 Rad, AMMISCA to MILAD, 22 Dec 41. Int Summary 9, AMMISCA Folder 7. 

15 (1) AMMISCA War Diary, Ser 37, 14 Dec 41. AMMISCA Folder 2. (2) Memos cited 
n. 10(2) and n. 13(1). 



JAPANESE PLAN DECEMBER 1941 

A AWEA TO BE SECURED AND "PUflLIC OH DER 1- TO BE RESTORED. 

B IN THIS AflEA COMMUNICATIONS ALONG YANGTZE R. TO 5E 
fiW CWMr RESISTANCE ELIMINATED. 



C "Strateoig" areas to be OCCUPIED. 

Nolfl' is desrfat imperial GHQ Army ortir No. 575, 

3 Dtcmbir I94t. 



W 5 




LUZON |. 



AMP / 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



55 



number of troops to share in Burma's defense. However, they insisted that the 
troops enter en masse, that they occupy a definite sector, and that they operate 
under a comprehensive plan. The Generalissimo explicitly and forcefully 
objected to any piecemeal commitment of his troops. To these Chinese offers 
Dennys always replied that the rice supply would permit accommodating only 
one regiment or, at most, two. 16 

There the matter stood when on 22 December Generals Wavell and Brett 
finally arrived in Chungking to talk with China's leaders, with the British 
Ambassador, and with Magruder. Brett's orders, as he received them on his 
arrival, were to encourage the conferees to take every advantage of Japan's 
"present over-extension" (an echo of the prewar underestimate of Japanese 
capabilities) and to put maximum pressure on every part of the Japanese front. 
He was to assure the others that the United States would do its part, was tak- 
ing prompt measures to reinforce the Philippines by air, and was determined 
to insure their successful defense. 17 

Wavell, like Dennys, Magruder, and the War Department, thought the 
Japanese overextended. He was not alarmed by the evidence of Japanese activ- 
ity reported by Burma Army headquarters. But if worst came to worst and 
Burma was invaded, Wavell, as of 23 December, expected it to be reinforced 
by the British 18th Division, the 17th Indian Division, and two East African 
brigades. There were also diplomatic considerations in his mind. He wrote 
later that it was desirable for Burma to be defended by imperial troops rather 
than foreign. 18 Moreover, the Sino-Burmese boundary was in dispute, and 
Chinese claims went far into north Burma. 19 While in Burma Brett had 
observed Chinese methods of operating the line of communications from 
Rangoon northward and had received a very bad impression of Chinese ability 
and integrity, an impression he believed Wavell shared. 20 

Therefore, when the Generalissimo repeated his earlier offers by stating his 
willingness to send the Chinese 5 th and 6th Armies to the defense of Burma, 
Wavell replied that he needed one AVG squadron, supplies of various sorts 
from the Chinese lend-lease stockpiles in Burma, but of troops only the whole 
of the Chinese 93d Division, if it could be supplied from China, and a regiment 
of the Chinese 49th Division to be kept in reserve just across the border. To 
Wavell this was a "qualified acceptance" of the Chinese offer to send troops, 
but the qualifications were precisely those to which the Chinese had earlier 

16 ( 1 ) Memo, Confs with Generalissimo, 8, 15 Dec 41. AMMISCA Folder 7. (2) Memo cited 
I n, 13| ( 1 ) ■ (3) MacMorland Diary, 15 Dec 41. The British Ambassador was present at the 15 
^D"ecember conference. 

17 Rad WAR 71, Marshall to Brett, 15 Dec 41. AG 381 (11-27-41). 

18 (1) Wavell candidly owns to a miscalculation. Despatch by the Supreme Commander of the 
ABDA Area to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in the South-West Pacific: 15 January 1942 to 25 February 
1942 (London, 1948). (2) Gen. Sir Archibald P. Wavell, "Operations in Burma from 15th 
December, 1941, to 20th May, 1942," Supplement to The London Gazette, March 11, 1948, par. 5. 

19 (1) End-paper map, China's Destiny, by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (New York, 1947). 
(2) Brig. Gen. [Dr.] Ho Yung-chi, The Big Circle (New York, 1948), pp. 89-90, 130-32. 

20 Ltr, Brett to Sunderland, 10 Mar 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. 



56 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



objected. 21 Brett and Magruder each reported to the War Department that 
Wavell had refused the Chinese offer. Magruder thought WavelPs refusal 
inconsistent with the picture of Burma's defenseless state, presented to justify 
requests for the transfer of China's lend-lease. The Chinese thought it a refusal 
and were bitterly angry. 22 

Complying with Mr. Roosevelt's suggestions of 15 December, the Chung- 
king Conference on 23 December created a permanent group to act as the local 
war council. Its members were: Dennys (Wavell's nominee); Ho (the General- 
issimo's); and Magruder (ex officio). Having set up its part of the machinery, 
the meeting then launched into a long discussion of the plan to be sent to 
Washington. The thread of discussion was frequently broken as various of the 
conferees began on topics that were important but irrelevant. Madame Chiang 
entered freely into the exchange, stressing China's need for help. The session 
ended with a decision to send Roosevelt some proposals phrased by Brett, but 
the Generalissimo indicated his dissatisfaction by saying that he would forward 
a plan of his own. 23 

The Generalissimo's proposals were the first Chinese plans to evict the 
Japanese ever laid before China's allies. They may never have reached Wash- 
ington either through Chinese or American channels though copies were given 
to the conferees. The Generalissimo proposed that the Allies, including the 
Soviet Union, make their main effort in Asia with the aim of defeating the 
Japanese in 1942. The first step, said the Chinese, was to rush air and naval 
reinforcements to hold Allied positions in the South Pacific. That done, the 
Allies should concentrate on gaining the mastery of the air. Air power was to 
be placed in Alaska, the Maritime Provinces, and China's coastal provinces. 
Japan would be blockaded. Then, when the Japanese armies in China were 

21 (1) Memo, Conf with Generalissimo, 23 Dec 41. AMMISCA Folder 7. (2) Wavell Despatch, 
December 15, 1941, to May 20, 1942, Supplement to The London Gazette, par 11. (3) MacMorland 
Diary, 23 Dec 41. (4) Rad DBA/ 10, CCS to Wavell, 5 Feb 42. War Office Folder, Earliest Mes- 
sages to and from General Wavell and other Commanders in the ABDA [American-British-Dutch- 
Australian] Area, January-February-March 1942, A48-179. (Hereafter, Earliest Messages Folder, 
A48-179.) 

22 Rad AMMISCA 124, Magruder to President, 25 Dec 41; Rad, Brett to AG WAR, 27 Dec 
41. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 1, Tab D. 

23 The six points of General Brett's plan were: 

"1. As a first essential to secure against enemy attack Rangoon and Burma, both of which 
are vital for China's continued resistance and any extension of joint action from China. Meanwhile 
to take offensive air action against Japanese bases and installations to the greatest extent that 
resources permit. 

"2. Maintain China's resistance by continued supplies of materiel to enable Chinese armies 
to prepare and train for the ultimate offensive against Japan. 

"3. Meanwhile the Chinese armies should continue to occupy the Japanese forces on their 
front by attacks or threats of attacks and by action against their vulnerable lines of communication. 

"4. As soon as resources permit, to pass to an offensive against Japan with all forces available, 
Chinese, British, and American. 

"5. This Joint Military Council sitting in Chungking will meet and submit information and 
proposals to enable the Allied Supreme War Council to work out strategy for East Asia. 

"6. Hope is expressed that a permanent organization to be set up in the United States will 
soon materialize." 

Memo cited n. 21(1). 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



57 



isolated, the Chinese would move to crush them. If the Japanese were to seize 
the great area between Singapore, Rangoon, and Manila, then the Allies should 
prepare a pincers attack from north Burma and the Australian area. 24 

The plan included no discussion of command, of supply problems, or of 
what each partner would offer. It proposed that the Chinese armies move only 
after Japan had been successfully isolated from the mainland by the efforts of 
China's allies. The great weaknesses of the plan lay in its casual dismissal of 
Germany and its complete failure to realize that massive air power could not 
be sustained in China at the end of the inefficient and congested Burma Road. 
Had every ton over the Burma Road, at its December performance, gone to 
the air force, only eight squadrons of B-17's could have been supported in 
China, and those without fighter support. 25 Appraising the Chungking Confer- 
ence a few weeks later, the War Department concluded that "very little, in a 
way of concrete results" was achieved. 26 The Generalissimo's announced 
willingness to let the British share in lend-lease stockpiles and to let the AVG 
stay in Burma was a slender counterweight to the animosity Wavell aroused. 27 

The Tulsa Incident 

Almost immediately afterward Sino-British relations were strained still 
more by the incident of the ship Tulsa and her cargo of valuable munitions at 
Rangoon. The British forces in Burma, guarding the last line of communica- 
tion between China and the outside world, were badly in need of equipment. 
Space-time factors suggested the Chinese lend-lease stockpiles as the logical 
means of adding to the defenses of an area in whose safety China was so vitally 
interested. The War Department was sympathetic to the suggestion that lend- 
lease be transferred to Burma's garrison, because now it fully appreciated the 
importance of Burma and feared an emergency might soon develop there. 
Accordingly, Magruder was asked to persuade the Chinese to the most strate- 
gic use of the materiel. This was the central point, for the Chinese acquired 
title to lend-lease goods as they left the United States and so there could be 
no transfer without their consent. Therefore, on 16 December Magruder 
received War Department permission to transfer Chinese lend-lease to the 
British, if the Chinese consented, with orders to report any such transaction 
later to the War Department. 28 

The responsible American officer at Rangoon, Lt. Col. Joseph J. Twitty, 

24 Proposal, The General Scheme for the Associated Operation of United States, Great Britain, 
Union of Socialist Soviet Republics of Russia, Netherlands, and China. Item 39, Conf File, Dec 41, 
CT 23, D r 2, KCRC. The Generalissimo's comments on the proposal are in the memorandum 
cited n ote 21(1). I 

25 A B— 17 squadron required 1,000 tons a month. Memo, Col Clayton L. Bissell for Lt Gen 
Henry H. Arnold, CG AAF, 20 Feb 42. AG (AIR) 381 China. 

26 Aide-Memoire, Notes on China, Brig Gen Dwight D. Eisenhower, WPD, for Lt Gen Hugh 
A. Drum, 2 Jan 42. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. I II. Item 2 

27 For an expression of the ill will, see Rad cited ln. 21(4)1 

28 Rad, Gerow to Magruder, 14 Dec 41. AG 406.3295 (4-14^41) Sec 1A. Magruder received 
this message on 16 December 1941. 



58 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



was aware that the momentarily expected Japanese bombing of Rangoon 
might destroy the docks and warehouses and with them most of the accumu- 
lated lend-lease supplies. The ships in the harbor, among them the Tulsa, were 
extremely vulnerable, and the stevedores were deserting. Colonel Twitty was 
also under heavy pressure from the Governor- General of Burma, Sir Reginald 
Hugh Dorman-Smith, and from General Brett, then in Burma en route to 
China. Sir Reginald hinted at confiscation of the stocks in order to get the 
equipment which Burma's defenders so badly needed, while Brett told Twitty 
that American heavy bombers might be in Burma in thirty days and strongly 
recommended (though he never ordered) that Twitty safeguard the U.S. inter- 
est in this matter. 29 

Communications with Chungking were very bad; therefore, Twitty turned 
to the War Department for guidance, telling AMMISCA of his step on 16 
December. Washington replied that Magruder had authority to act and would 
guide Twitty. Colonel Twitty once again turned to General Magruder and, 
while he was waiting for an answer, very strong hints came from sources close 
to the Governor-General of Burma that the stocks were about to be confis- 
cated. Twitty, therefore, formally asked the Government of Burma on 19 
December to impound and safeguard all lend-lease stocks until their ultimate 
use could be decided. Of these, the Tulsa's cargo was the most valuable, and so 
the whole affair became known as the Tulsa incident. 30 

Colonel Twitty then broke the news to Gen. Yu Fei-peng, the General- 
issimo's cousin and the senior Chinese representative in Burma. Yu appeared 
reassured by Twitty's statement that this was emphatically not a confiscation 
but merely an impounding until a decision could be reached on emergency 
use. Indeed, far from seeming angered, Yu suggested that a committee of 
experts from the three powers be set up to decide on the best division of the 
stocks; Twitty agreed at once. Brett reported the impounding to AMMISCA 
in Chungking, saying that he had suggested it and that the whole situation 
waited on Magruder's arrival at Rangoon. This message reached Magruder 
on 21 December. At first Magruder thought of flying to Rangoon, but when 
he found no aircraft available he sent a radio to Twitty saying that the lend- 
lease material could neither be impounded nor transferred without the consent 
of both the Chinese and the War Department. Magruder's intention was to 
settle the matter at the forthcoming 23 December conference. 31 Magruder's 
order was not received in Rangoon until the 23d. 

29 Ltr, Twitty to Magruder, 16 Dec 41, sub: Conf with Gov-Gen; Field Msg 10, Twitty to 
SW, 12 Dec 41. Items 20, 23, Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. 

30 Rad, WAR to Rangoon, 17 Dec 41; Memo, sub: Record of Events at Rangoon, 7-31 Dec 
41. Items 24, 43, Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. 

31 (1) Rad, Brett to Arnold and Magruder, 19 Dec 41; Rpt, Maj John E. Russell, AMMISCA's 
Rangoon Off, to Twitty, 19 Dec 41, sub: Rpt of Conf Held With Gen Yu This Morning; Para- 
phrase of Msg, U.S. Embassy, Chungking, to U.S. Consulate, Rangoon, 21 Dec 41; Memo for 
Record by Magruder, 21 Dec 41, sub: Notes on Retransfer of Lena-Lease Materiel to British in 
Burma, Items 30, 29, 38, 17, Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. (2) Memo, Hq 204 
Mission for AMMISCA, reed 16 Dec 41. Conf Files, Dec 41, CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



59 



Meanwhile, the Rangoon committee formed at Yu's suggestion began its 
work, examining the stocks and deciding what could be released for immediate 
shipment to China and what should be kept for possible future use in Burma. 
In the course of these efforts the committee released far more supplies to the 
Chinese than could possibly be trucked up the road in the near future. There 
was one unfortunate incident when, on 20 December, a group of British 
soldiers seized 150 trucks from a Chinese Government agency without reference 
to the committee, but this seemed to be smoothed over with apologies to 
General Yu and promises from Brett and Twitty that the committee's preroga- 
tives would be respected. 32 

During his visit to Chungking for the 23 December conference, Brett dis- 
cussed the lend-lease transfers with Magruder, as Magruder promptly told 
Twitty by letter. They must have discussed it in the light of General Yu's 
apparent acquiescence in the procedure and the Generalissimo's willingness to 
share with the British. They "agreed that it is a matter for the British and 
Chinese to settle in conference here [Chungking]." 33 The phrase suggests a 
hope that the fait accompli of Rangoon would be accepted in Chungking, if the 
British saved Chinese face by presenting a detailed list of their needs even as 
those were being met in Rangoon. There seems to have been no discussion 
with the Chinese of the fact that the stocks actually had been impounded. 

On Christmas Day the Joint Military Council of Dennys, Ho, and Magruder 
met at the Bureau of Foreign Affairs to pass on the requests for lend-lease trans- 
fers that had been made by British representatives in Chungking. General Ho 
began the meeting amiably enough by saying the Generalissimo had agreed to 
release twenty machine guns for the defense of Burma. Then Ho stunned 
Magruder and Dennys by reading a telegram from General Yu which accused 
the British of seizing China's lend-lease stocks with Twitty's connivance. He 
further charged that Twitty had rejected Yu's protest on the ground that the 
seizure was in line with U.S. policy. Therefore, Ho continued, the General- 
issimo had decided that the seizure of the Tulsa's cargo was an unfriendly act 
and that all lend-lease at Rangoon should be given to the British or returned 
to the Americans. All Chinese military personnel would return to China and 
co-operation between Britain and China would cease, because it was impossible 
for them to fight Japan side by side. 34 The Chinese obviously assumed that 
American lend-lease was a proper subject of contention between themselves 
and the British Commonwealth. 

32 Memo, R. C. Chen, Secy, Rangoon Com, 20 Dec 41, sub: Memo of First Mtg of Com for 
Survey of Chinese Govt Supplies in Burma; Incl to Ltr, R. C. Chen, Officiating Mgr, Southwest 
Transportation Co., Rangoon, to Twitty, 21 Dec 41; Min, Second Mtg of Com for Survey of 
Chinese Govt Supplies in Burma, 22 Dec 41. Items 32, 33, 35, Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, 
Dr 4, KCRC. 

33 Ltr, Magruder to Twitty, 23 Dec 4l. Item 18, Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. 
34 (1) Memo, Gluckman for Magruder, 25 Dec 41, sub: Rpt on Conf Held 2 5 Dec. Item 19, 

Port of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. (2) MacMorland Diary, 26 Dec 41, 20 Jan 42. 
(3) Aldrich Diary, 26 Dec 41. Aldrich was told that the Generalissimo had refused to see the 
British Ambassador. 



60 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Magruder and Denny s made conciliatory replies, and Ho agreed to arrange 
an audience with the Generalissimo for Magruder. Because of Yu's telegram, 
Chinese anger was directed toward the British though the latter had been acting 
on Twitty's request. Magruder, at least, among the conferees had been informed 
that all the while Yu was amicably joining in the division of the lend-lease 
stocks. Yu's motives for sending the telegrams are unknown. It is possible that 
the seizure of the 150 trucks led him to repay in kind what he took to be bad 
faith; equally possible, that he was moved to act by the prospect of losing 
control of the immensely profitable traffic in lend-lease. 35 

Magruder found the Generalissimo in a friendly mood on 26 December. 
Remarking that he had already approved the initial British list of requests, he 
accepted Magruder's politic assurances and agreed that AMMISCA might send 
an officer to Rangoon to regularize the transaction. Very considerable amounts 
of lend-lease were afterward transferred to the British in Burma, but at Chinese 
insistence Colonel Twitty was relieved of his post and succeeded by Lt. Col. 
Adrian St. John. The War Department approved Magruder's conduct of the 
affair and warned St. John against any transfers not approved by the Chinese. 36 

In Washington, Hopkins called the matter to the attention of British 
authority on the cabinet level. The explanation that was returned was accepted, 
Hopkins being satisfied, apparently, with indicating White House interest 
where the Chinese were involved. The Rangoon committee survived Yu's 
telegrams and continued its work into 1942. The incident later caused several 
changes in lend-lease procedure, intended to eliminate the possibility of such 
disputes in the future. 37 



35 (1) Ltr cite d|n. 33-| (2) Concerning Chinese corruption in the handling of lend-lease, Mr. 
Roosevelt was tola!"™^™^ 

"On the issue of whether or not any of the 'goods and munitions purchased for China never 
gets to China— but not for military reasons' our check to date indicates that (a) Some of the goods 
presumably destined for the Chinese Government are in fact purchased for private account through 
various corporations in the United States. These goods, upon arrival on the Burma Road, were 
picked up by the private individuals or firms for whom they were really destined; (b) There is 
some evidence of minor pilfering on the Burma Road with the resultant effect that some of the 
goods have been put to private rather than military use; (c) After December 7th, some pilfering 
has taken place at the docks at Rangoon because the material was not adequately guarded; (d) By 
far the major part of the goods which did not get put to military use was either destroyed or lost 
at Rangoon or on the Southern part of the Burma Road by reason of conditions prevailing after 
December 7th and the inefficiency of the port, customs, and military officials in Burma." 

Ltr, Thomas B. McCabe to President, 13 May 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 

36 (1) Rad AMMISCA 129, Magruder to Stimson, 28 Dec 41. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 
1A. (2) Memo, Conf with Generalissimo, 26 Dec 41. AMMISCA Folder 7. (3) Rad, WD to 
St. John, 30 Dec 41. AG 381 (11-27-41) Sec 1A. (4) Rad AMMISCA 158, Magruder to Stimson, 
4 Jan 42; Rad, Stimson to St. John, 10 Jan 42. Items 205, 575, Msg File 5, A47-136. 

37 (1) Ltr, Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Supply, to Hopkins, 31 Dec 41; Ltr, Hopkins to 
Beaverbrook, 1 Jan 42. Hopkins Papers. (2) "General Magruder trying hard to have Rangoon 
board of three given enough authority to settle allocations on the spot and avoid misunderstand- 
ings that arise due to distance and slowness of communications," wrote Aldrich in his diary on 
2 January 1942. (3) Memo, Col Henry S. Aurand, Def Aid Dir, for Edward L. Stettinius, Jr., 
Office, Lend-Lease Administration, 15 Dec 41. AG (AMMISCA) 400.3295. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



61 



The Creation of an Allied China Theater 

Immediately after the outbreak of war, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed it 
was necessary to examine strategy and policy anew in the awful light cast by 
the now world-wide conflagration. The Arcadia Conference of the two states- 
men and their service advisers convened in Washington on 22 December. 
There they formed a committee of the British and American Chiefs of Staff, 
henceforth to be called the Combined Chiefs of Staff, or CCS, to advise them 
on the conduct of the war. 

A rapid survey of the situation when the conference convened would have 
revealed a scene whose externals were discouraging but which included the 
three greatest of the Great Powers, the United States of America, the British 
Commonwealth, and the Soviet Union, allied at last, a tremendous concentra- 
tion of force, actual and potential. In the Pacific, the surprise Japanese blow at 
Pearl Harbor left 2 battleships sunk and beyond salvage, 2 more resting on 
the bottom but salvable, 3 more badly damaged, and the last of the 8 lightly 
so. It would be some months before the Pacific Fleet could intervene in force. 
In Asia, Japanese land operations were under way at Hong Kong, in the 
Philippines, and in Malaya. Two British capital ships were lost off Malaya. 
The Japanese were advancing steadily and smoothly. 

In the Mediterranean, since 18 November 1941 the British Eighth Army 
under Gen. Sir Claude J. E. Auchinleck had been attacking the German and 
Italian forces in an attempt to retake Cyrenaica, lost at the time of Greece and 
Crete, and if possible drive on to Tripoli. The battle was hard and well fought 
by both sides, but at length the Eighth Army had moved forward deep into 
Cyrenaica, unfortunately without cutting off any considerable body of the 
enemy. Though defeated, the German and Italian forces were intact. 

The Russian armies had surprised both friend and foe. Since 22 June 1941 
they had lost great stretches of territory and suffered heavy casualties, but no 
German victory was decisive. On 4 December 1941 the Germans launched 
one last attack in a desperate effort to reach Moscow. It failed, and Hitler was 
now left to face the Russian winter, for which he had not prepared his armies. 
The German armies in late December were at the gates of Leningrad; they 
had recoiled at Moscow, but lay within sixty miles of it; and in the south the 
Russians had driven them from Rostov and forced a retreat of some forty miles. 

Among the pressing problems created by the war was that of China, and 
considerable attention was given to it. The Arcadia conferees had begun to 
apply the principle of unified Allied command and set up such a headquarters 
under General Wavell for the area of Southeast Asia. Mr. Roosevelt's concern 
for China was shown at a White House conference on 28 December with the 
American delegates to Arcadia. There he ordered that something be done 
to establish a committee in Chungking to help the Generalissimo's morale. 
The President's first proposals for a grand council in Washington had yielded 



62 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



to the more compact and workable CCS, but he still liked the idea of a sub- 
ordinate council in Chungking. The establishment of Wavell's headquarters, 
ABDACOM (American-British-Dutch-Australian Command), had left one 
area in the Far East not included in the scheme of unified command. This was 
China, for it was agreed that the Chinese would never consent to any portion 
of their country being placed under foreign command. 38 

Therefore, on 29 December the CCS suggested the creation of a China 
Theater under the Generalissimo, to include also northeast Burma and such 
parts of Thailand and Indochina as might be occupied by what were now 
called the United Nations. Northeast Burma was deleted, but the announce- 
ment of the Generalissimo's theater, over which he would preside as Supreme 
(Allied) Commander, assisted by an Allied staff, was made on the 29th, coinci- 
dentally with that of General WavelPs appointment to his difficult post. The 
Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, China Theater, was in no way sub- 
ordinate to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, nor was any portion of China's 
territory then or ever under the jurisdiction of any other officer of the United 
Nations. Though an Allied commander, the Generalissimo was responsible 
only to himself, which made him unique among those who afterward held 
similar posts. 

Burma was placed under Wavell's command rather than that of General 
Headquarters (India) and India Command, its natural base, because Churchill 
thought it well to give the impression that Wavell was stretching out his hand 
to help the Generalissimo. Roosevelt agreed, saying it was particularly impor- 
tant to restore the Generalissimo to a good frame of mind. He added bluntly 
that Generals Wavell and Brett had made a very poor impression at Chung- 
king, partly because of the coincident requisitioning of Chinese lend-lease at 
Rangoon and partly because Wavell had refused the Chinese offer to reinforce 
Burma. The President displayed great concern over the Chinese attitude and 
suggested to Churchill that Wavell be ordered to go out of his way to placate 
the Generalissimo and bring him to a more co-operative mood. 39 Behind 
Roosevelt's expressions of concern over the Generalissimo lay his policy 
toward China, which his Army Chief of Staff defined after the war as "to treat 
China as a Great Power." 40 Asking the Generalissimo to accept the post of 

38 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 458. 

39 (1) Memo, Conf at White House, 28 Dec 41, 1145, Folder, Notes on Informal Conferences 
Held during Visit of British Chiefs of Staff to Washington; Notes taken by British Secretariat, 
Washington War Conf, Record of a Meeting Held at the White House on Thursday, 1st January 
1942 at 6:30 P. M. WDCSA 334, A45-466. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 445, 458. 
(3) Rad, SN to Naval Attache, Chungking, 31 Dec 41. Item 46, Conf File, Dec 41, CT 23, Dr 2, 
KCRC. Transfer of communications facilities from a Yangtze gunboat to a station at Chungking 
afforded the U.S. Navy an excellent contact with Washington. The Generalissimo was notified of 
his Allied role through this channel much to the embarrassment of AMMISCA, which did not 
include Navy personnel. Throughout the history of the U.S. theater of operations in China, 
Burma, and India the Navy channel on certain occasions was a source of concern to Headquarters, 
U.S. Army Forces, in Chungking. 

40 Asked in so many words, "What was the President's policy toward China? Did he ever 
explain it to you?" General Marshall replied after some reflection that the policy was to treat 
China as a great power. Interv with Gen Marshall, 6 Jul 49. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



63 



Supreme Commander, China Theater, so great in potential importance, the 
President added that to make his command effective it was believed a com- 
bined planning staff of British, Chinese, and American officers should be set 
up at once. 41 

The U. S. Role: A Second Mission or a Theater? 

Prewar planning of proposals for strategic action by the United States in 
relation to China, should hostilities arise, had not progressed beyond the staff 
study phase. There were no comprehensive plans, like the Rainbow series, 
setting forth in detail what the United States would propose to the Chinese 
and be prepared to attempt in company with them. 42 When on 2 January the 
officer tentatively selected by the War Department and approved by the Presi- 
dent to go to China arrived in Washington, the question of that wartime 
relationship became immediate and pressing. The initial choice was Lt. Gen. 
Hugh A. Drum, suggested for the post by Stimson. General Drum was then 
the senior line officer in the United States Army and one of the very few with 
combat experience in general officer's rank. 

As he left his First Army headquarters in New York, General Drum believed 
he was being summoned to Washington to receive a mission of transcendent 
importance— in Europe. From a conversation with Roosevelt in the summer 
of 1939, when the European situation was growing ever more ominous, he 
had received the impression that, should there be another war and should the 
United States be involved, Drum would command a new American expedi- 
tionary force to Europe. Drum's expectations and their subsequent disappoint- 
ment were a factor in his reactions, for to his surprise he was offered a post in 
China. 

The scene in the War Department as General Drum arrived was domi- 
nated by the effort to deploy inadequate American resources to best effect in 
meeting a number of grave dangers. The effort was being made by a small 
group of men in the Department who had to improvise and adjust under 
appalling pressures. The speed and weight of the Japanese drive in the Pacific 
were upsetting all prewar concepts. If, on the one hand the defense of South- 
east Asia and Australasia was necessary, on the other, the long-run strategic 
advantages of making the principal U.S. effort in the Atlantic could not be 
overlooked. 



41 Rad cited |n. 39 ( 3 )| This message was prepared in the Office of the Secretary of War on 29 
December. Hopkins, Stimson, Marshall, Col. De Witt Peck, USMC, Col. Thomas T Handy, 
Comdr. Bertram J. Rodgers, USN, and Lt. Col. Willard G. Wyman, WPD, drafted the final 
memorandum for the President. WPD 4389-61. 

42 For a discussion of the Rainbow plans, see Mark Skinner Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar 
Plans and Preparations, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1950), 
pp. 103-04. 



64 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



In response to these strategic necessities there were troop and aircraft move- 
ments toward the Southwest Pacific to succor Australia and New Zealand and 
defend the Malay Barrier. To seize the initiative in the main theater, the Atlan- 
tic, efforts were being made to prepare for the occupation of French North 
Africa (Gymnast). Maj. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell arrived in Washington on 
25 December as U.S. commander-designate of Gymnast. 43 To accomplish 
these two efforts would force the Army to scrape the bottom of the barrel of 
available resources. Moreover, the Anglo-American agreement that the Atlan- 
tic should be the main theater was now on record, and General Marshall was 
resolved that the U.S. effort should be concentrated in that area. 44 

The day he arrived in Washington, General Drum conferred with Secretary 
of War Stimson; with General Marshall; with Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, who 
in fact if not in name commanded the air arm; with the Assistant Secretary of 
War, Mr. John J. McCloy ; and with Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Deputy 
Chief of the War Plans Division for the Pacific and Far East. From these dis- 
cussions with General Drum it soon appeared that the War Department was 
not agreed within itself on what should be done for China, that some favored 
a mission with command responsibilities not accorded to Magruder's, while 
others contemplated an American theater of operations in China from which 
to operate against the mainland of Japan. 

Stimson told General Drum' that China was in bad shape and might accept 
a separate peace. On the other hand, it was the best theater and offered the best 
bases from which to operate against Japan. Difficulties over command problems 
had arisen because the Generalissimo, somewhat against his will, had been 
limited to China proper as his sphere of operations, and because the British 
had insisted that Chinese troops stay out of Burma. Stimson said that the 
British had no respect for Chinese fighting ability and had angered the Chinese 
by lend-lease diversions. He saw two great objectives: (1) to secure China as a 
base for early operations against Japan; (2) to keep China in the war. He went 
on to say that some strong U.S. officer was needed in China to handle the 
British; to bring them to a proper feeling about Chinese military forces, about 
Burma Road problems, and about the handling of lend-lease supplies destined 
for China. The Secretary, as a final consideration, gave as the main objective 
steps and plans to secure China as a main theater of operations. It was men- 
tioned in passing that T. V. Soong had suggested that the presence in Chung- 
king of a high-ranking officer would be beneficial, that he might command the 
Chinese Army, and that General Stilwell had been considered for the post but 

43 (1) In 1941-1942 Malay Barrier was the term commonly applied to the Malay Peninsula and 
the Netherlands Indies, which were viewed as protecting the Indian Ocean and Australasia against 
attack from the north. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 460. (3) Joseph W. Stilwell, The 
Stilwell Papers, Theodore H. White, ed. (New York, 1948), p. 11. 

44 (1) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 415, 528. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, 
p. 445. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



65 



rejected, because it was feared that he would not have enough face with Chinese 
officials who would remember him as an attache. 45 

General Drum next talked with General Marshall. Although Stimson had 
been talking in terms of a theater of operations, General Marshall seemed to 
think along the lines of a mission. Air power in China was the theme of much 
of Marshall's discourse. He saw Cairo and the supplies there as a base to sup- 
port air power in China, though Drum would have to use great tact and 
diplomacy in getting the British to transfer lend-lease stores in the Middle East 
for use in China. After interviewing Marshall, Drum talked to Arnold, 
Eisenhower, and McCloy, each of whom gave him still another viewpoint, 
ranging from McCloy's description of a great Allied front stretching from 
Gibraltar to Canton, to Arnold's modest plans to operate a few air squadrons 
in China. 46 

The differing points of view given to Drum, particularly the wide gap 
between those of Stimson and Marshall— the former speaking again and again 
of a theater, the latter, of a mission and air power— made Drum feel that the 
War Department had not settled on what he was to do in China. His impression 
of divergent views in high places was confirmed by a War Department paper 
entitled Notes on China, which had been given to him by Eisenhower as he 
waited in Stimson's anteroom and which gave the War Departments' inten- 
tions as: 

(1) To provide equipment to the Chinese Army to enable it to continue operations 
against the Japanese. This includes assistance in the maintenance of communications. 

(2) Instigating Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to intensify Chinese effort and to restore 
the waning spirit of the Chinese in carrying on the conflict. 

(3) To secure, maintain, and operate air bases for air operations against the Japanese. 

(4) To organize various types of American units by enlistment in the American Army to 
carry on guerrilla warfare. 47 

Notes on China very closely paralleled a British staff study, Aid to China, 
British Policy in Support of China, which had been received by the War 
Department in September. The emphasis which Notes on China gave to 
guerrilla warfare as one of the principal U.S. activities in China was at complete 
odds with existing U.S. policy, i.e., the Thirty Division Program, and was 
quietly forgotten in a few weeks. 48 

45 (1) A memorandum for the record prepared early in 1942 by General Drum, entitled The 
China Proposal, pp. 4-9. Drum Papers, Empire State Building, New York, N. Y. (See Biblio- 
graphical Note.) (2) Diary kept by Col. Charles E. Rayens, a member of the Drum party, entry 
of 9 January 1942. Drum Papers. 

46 (1) The China Proposal, pp. 9-14. Marshall's views of 2 Jan 42 on pp. 19-25. (2) Memo, 
Drum's conversation with Marshall, 2 Ian 42. Hist ory of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 3. 

47 Aide-Memoire, Notes on China, cite d n. 26. 1 

48 (1) Aid to China, British Policy in Support of China, 5th September, 1941. AG (AMMISCA) 
351. (2) At one time, Drum's role was seen as simply liaison with the Generalissimo and organiz-. 
ing Sino- American guerrilla units. It was so described in an undated memorandum to Roosevelt, 
signed by Stimson, which, since it is an original copy, presumably never left the Chief of Staff's 
office. The next paper in the file is dated 12 December 1941. Nothing on the Stimson letter 
suggests Roosevelt ever saw it. Memo, Stimson for President, WDCSA, Far East (1941-1942), 
A4(>-523. 



66 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



There was a conflict between Stimson's theater and Marshall's mission 
views as thus presented. General Drum felt that this had to be resolved if he 
were to understand his task, and so, utilizing a staff hastily assembled for him, 
many of whom had had long experience in China, he prepared a memorandum 
whose acceptance or rejection would clarify the position of the War Depart- 
ment. After surveying the current situation in China, Burma, and India, Drum's 
paper characterized the objective of the proposed mission as "nebulous, un- 
certain, and indefinite." He felt that sending one more mission would be an 
empty gesture. Drum suggested instead that the government "decide on a 
policy and arrange the means" before sending him to China. Though he did 
not ask for troops or tonnage, Drum still felt that the officer sent should be 
able to hold out a fairly definite indication to the Chinese of what the United 
States would do. He suggested that first priority be given to improving the 
Burma Road and that the main effort in China should be toward building up a 
strong air force. 49 

General Drum at once discussed the memorandum with Stimson and 
General Eisenhower, who represented the War Plans Division. Then, Stimson, 
expressing his views, gave Marshall and Drum a note which confirmed the 
impressions that Drum had received in his interview with the Secretary. 
Stimson wrote that his talk with Drum had helped "to clarify some inchoate 
ideas which I already had about the China Theatre" and commented favorably 
on Drum's project for an offensive from Burma into Thailand. 50 General Drum 
considered the note as an approval of the views that he had stated, a feeling 
strengthened by an order from the Chief of Staff's office saying that Drum 
would be on an extended absence and would be allowed to retain his quarters 
on Governor's Island. He returned to New York on 5 January to arrange his 
domestic affairs and prepare for China duty. 51 

In Chungking, the Chinese had been weighing the nomination of the 
Generalissimo to be Supreme Commander of an Allied China Theater. They 
accepted about 5 January and asked that the President send a high-ranking U.S. 
officer to be chief of the Generalissimo's joint (or Allied) staff. The Chinese 
letter had an interesting provision: "... That this officer need not be an expert 
on the Far East; on the contrary, he [the Generalissimo] thinks that military 
men who have knowledge of Chinese armies when China was under war lords, 
operate at a disadvantage when they think of the present Chinese national 
armies in terms of the armies of the war lords." 52 Though in Drum's interview 
with Stimson he had been assured that his ignorance of the Chinese language 
would not handicap him, this suggestion from the Chinese— that ignorance of 

49 Memo, Drum for Stimson and Marshall, 5 Jan 42, sub: Mission to China. History of CBI, 
Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 1. 

50 Memo, Stimson for Marshall, 6 Jan 42. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 1 1. 

51 The China Proposal, Exhibit la. 

52 Ltr, Soong to McCloy, 6 Jan 42. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 17. In the early 
days of the war, the terms joint, allied, and combined were used interchangeably. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



67 



China's very recent military past would be an advantage — may have been dis- 
quieting to the War Department. Read in the light of AMMISCA radios, it 
suggested that the Chinese wanted a senior American officer in Chungking 
who would accept what he was told by the Chinese at face value and in effect 
be another Chinese envoy to the United States. 53 

While in New York, Drum learned that his orders were about to be 
discussed with the British. Desiring to be sure that his views were represented, 
since in certain areas he would serve under Wavell, Drum hastily returned to 
Washington. On arrival he spoke to Stimson. The two men were in accord 
about the desirability of a thrust across Thailand and Indochina to take the 
Hanoi-Haiphong area and open a supply line to China, but when the Secretary 
turned the conversation to the larger aspects of the war, he puzzled Drum. 
Some of Stimson's comments recalled the picture McCloy had painted of a vast 
Allied front from Gibraltar to Canton, and General Drum wondered why he 
was not told of such a project clearly and plainly. The Secretary did make clear 
that Drum was not to hurry to China but was to study conditions in the Mid- 
dle East en route. On reflection, Drum was still further mystified by this 
comment and felt the interview did not make Stimson's wishes clear. 54 

General Drum returned to his office in the War Department and there 
learned that a draft of his instructions, prepared in the War Department, was 
being submitted to the British Joint Staff Mission for their comments. Drum 
believed that the precedent of Gen. John J. Pershing in World War I, whom 
the then Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, had allowed to draft his own 
instructions, ought in some measure to apply to him in taking over such an 
important assignment, and so Drum hastily prepared another memorandum 
to Stimson and Marshall, expanding and clarifying his views. While this paper 
was being typed in final form, Eisenhower showed him a copy of the War 
Department draft. The title, Immediate Assistant [sic] to China, strengthened 
Drum's impression that a post comparable to that of the chief of a military 
mission was being prepared as the American answer to China's problems. 
Further examining the paper, General Drum took exception to the complete 
absence of Stimson's views. He also felt that the paper would place the officer 
sent to China in a poorly defined command relation to the Generalissimo and 
General Wavell. 55 

The Drum memorandum may be summarized in his own words as "a plan 
of operations, mainly American, from without China to within China for the 
purpose of securing adequate lines of supply by which to build up in China a 

53 Ltr, Wyman to Rayens, 21 Jan 42. Drum Papers. (2) On the letter, Soong to McCloy, 
6 January 1942, Colonel Wyman penned this note: "This letter brought to the attention of General 
Drum, 23 January." History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 17. | ^_^__ 

54 (1) The China Proposal, pp. 47-49, 53-61. (2) Diary, 7 Jan 42, citec jn. 45(2).| Made just 
after the interview, this entry repeats Stimson's injunction that Drum snould take his time. 

"(1) Memo for COS, 8 Jan 42, sub: Immediate Assistance to China. ABC 4 CS2, A48-224. 
General Drum's copy was headed Immediate Assistant to China. (2) The China Proposal, pp. 
55, 56-61, 62-63. 



68 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



theater with adequate bases, air and ground, from which to attack Japan. Every 
indication and study convinced me that the first problem was to establish lines 
of supply into China." For personnel, Drum recommended only that a general 
program be drawn up as a basis for planning and negotiations with the British 
and Chinese. 56 These concepts were markedly similar to the future develop- 
ment of the China-Burma-India Theater. At this time they did not meet with 
General Marshall's approval. 

The divergence between the theater concept, shared by Drum and Stimson, 
and the mission concept, advocated by the War Plans Division and the Chief 
of Staff, was now so apparent that General Drum considered he would have 
to make an effort to resolve the conflict if he was to have a workable directive. 
Therefore, he secured appointments with Marshall on 8 and 9 January. 

In the first interview with General Marshall, at which General Eisenhower 
was also present, General Drum pointed out the difference in viewpoint 
between the various papers that had been circulated— the Notes on China 
given him as he waited in Stimson's office, Stimson's approval of Drum's 5 
January 1942 memorandum, and Immediate Assistant to China. His own 
views, Drum remarked, followed those of the Secretary, which he thought 
sound. He then "pointed out the inconsistency and impracticability of my 
serving three masters— the War Department as U.S. representative in China, 
under command of Chiang in China, and under Wavell both inside and outside 
of China." 57 

General Marshall then stated his views. In explaining them, he defended 
the proposed command organization under which the officer representing the 
United States in China was to operate in accordance with Marshall's master 
design of securing unity of Allied command in all theaters. 58 Marshall had 
not used Drum's 8 January memorandum because he had no intention of send- 
ing large forces to China or making an effort (in the foreseeable future?) to 
open supply lines to China. U.S. air units would be sent to China after more 
pressing problems, mainly defense of the Malay Barrier, had been solved. 
Marshall's immediate concern in China was to build up the American Volun- 
teer Group. His main objective for China was to "arm, equip, and train 
Chinese forces in China," and he wanted Drum to take with him some officers 
who could act as commanders of Chinese army corps. When Drum objected 
that the limited capacity of the Burma Road made such a project as rearming 
Chinese forces impracticable, Marshall replied that "more of the equipping of 
the Chinese forces could be done with resources within China proper." 59 

Drum believed such a project was impracticable, that resources within 

56 (1) Memo and Annex 1, Drum for Stimson and Marshall, 8 Jan 42, sub: Strategic and 
Operational Conception of U.S. Effort to Assist China. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 12. 
(2) The China Proposal, pp. 56-61. 

" The China Proposal, pp. 63-66. 

58 (1) Ibid. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 455. 
59 The China Proposal, pp. 63-66. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



69 



China were too limited. He then raised the issue of what he could really hope 
to accomplish in China with the resources Marshall seemed willing to allot 
him. It was still obvious that the Marshall and Stimson views on what should 
be done for China were far apart. Drum stated that, if Marshall's approach 
were adopted, Drum would be involved in a minor effort with no possibility 
of tangible or decisive results. 60 

Feeling that the issue of a U.S. mission to China or a U.S. theater in China 
was still unsettled, General Drum saw General Marshall again on 9 January. 
Unfortunately, in this interview, the discussion drifted away from the attempt 
to settle the strategic question involved and became confused with the issue 
of whether the proposed post was suitable for a general officer of Drum's 
experience. When Marshall repeated that there would be no large U.S. forces 
for China but some aircraft and munitions if they could be transported, Drum 
remarked that this meant that he, as one of the three senior officers of the 
Army who had combat experience with major units, would be wasted in a 
minor post at a time of grave crisis. This General Marshall took as a lack of 
enthusiasm for the task. General Drum demurred, explaining that he would 
be happy to go if Stimson's views prevailed. Marshall concluded the interview 
by saying that large U.S. forces would not be sent to China, and therefore he 
must recommend against Drum's assignment. 61 

After his interview with Marshall, Drum was left in an embarrassing posi- 
tion because of divided counsels in the War Department. Though Drum was 
not aware of it at the time, his appointment had been approved by the Presi- 
dent before Drum had been called to Washington and a staff had been 
assembled for him by the War Plans Division. The studies prepared by his staff 
had suggested an approach to the China problem that Mr. Stimson had ap- 
proved. But this approval had not been enough to clarify the picture. 

Although other officers called to Washington in those days to assume field 
command were also meeting divided counsels and administrative confusion, as 
General Stilwell so picturesquely set forth in his diaries, 62 it is not strange that 
General Drum felt that he, as one of the senior officers in the Army, was en- 
titled to more consideration. Moreover, he believed that his views on China 
were shared by Stimson, the highest authority in the War Department. 

On 10 January Drum restated his views and the outcome of his interviews 
with Marshall in another memorandum and again referred the matter to 
Stimson, saying that if Stimson's views prevailed, he would be happy to go 
but feared that he was about to be wasted in a minor post, far from the main 
effort. Then General Drum returned to New York, expecting an early reaction. 
When none was forthcoming, he sought and obtained an interview with 
Stimson on 13 January, in which Stimson agreed to read Drum's 10 January 



60 Ibid. 

61 The China Proposal, pp. 69-71. 

62 The Stilwell Papers, pp. 15-17. 



70 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



note. Later, Drum heard that Stimson felt Drum had refused to go to China. 
This was very disturbing to Drum, who promptly obtained a further interview 
with Stimson. Stimson now remarked that Drum had knocked down his plans 
like a house of cards, a vivid phrase which illuminated the situation where the 
prolonged earlier presentations by the Secretary had not. 

General Drum replied that— now he understood Stimson's desire to have 
him in China— he was anxious to go, whether China was to be an active theater 
or not, and reaffirmed his position in a letter to Stimson from New York on 
15 January. But Stimson did not change his mind, and a brief reply on 17 
January closed the episode. Not until 23 January did Drum learn of the 
Generalissimo's willingness since 5 January to accept an American officer as 
his chief of staff. 63 

Selection of Stilwell and His Directive for China 

When it became apparent that Drum was not going to China, Marshall 
on 14 January 1942 proposed the name of General Stilwell. 64 They had served 
together at the Infantry School and in China. The Chief of Staff had the 
highest regard for StilwelPs ability as a tactician and a trainer of troops, and his 
star had risen with Marshall's. Great things were expected of Stilwell, as shown 
by his nomination for command of the North African expedition then being 
planned in Washington. 65 Born in March of 1883, Stilwell was no longer 
young, but he was energetic and indefatigable. As military attache in China, 
he had examined the mechanism of the Chinese Army and meticulously 
studied every Sino-Japanese battle of the 1937-38 period. 66 Marshall knew that 
Stilwell was not a diplomat, 67 but the mission that was about to be offered 
Stilwell called for a great many other qualities. The situation in Burma was 
appearing ever more ominous. As early as 28 December 1941, G-2, War 
Department General Staff, had warned that the Japanese would be in Rangoon 
in five weeks unless Burma was heavily reinforced. 68 During General Drum's 
visit to Washington the War Department had shown itself well aware of the 
friction among Burma's defenders. Therefore a skilled field commander from 
a third party might be acceptable to British and Chinese as a solution of the 

63 (1) Memo, Drum for Stimson and Marshall, 10 Jan 42, sub: Vital Considerations Relative 
to My Proposed Trip to China. WPD 4389-71. (2) The China Proposal, Exhibit N( 1) and pp. 
73-78, 81-89. (3) Ltr, Drum to Stimson, 13 Jan 42. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 15. 
(4) Ltr, Drum to Stimson, 15 Jan 42; Ltr, Drum to Knox, 16 Jan 42; Ltr, Stimson to Drum, 17 
Jan 42, Dr um Papers. (5) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 529. (6) Penned Note cited 
i n. 

° 4 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 25-26. (2) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 529-30. 
6 ' Interv with Gen Marshall, 6 Jul 49. 

66 (1) Stilwell's tactical studies of the Sino-Japanese hostilities are with his personal papers. 
(2) MA Rpts, Stilwell, 8 Jul 35-30 Apr 39. National Archives. 

67 Interv cited n. 65. 

68 Memo, Lee for WPD, 28 Dec 41, sub: Japanese Attack Against Burma. WPD 4544-35. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



71 



local command problem and might be able to organize successful resistance 
to the Japanese. Moreover, the Chief of Staff was most interested in reform of 
the Chinese Army, as his talks with Drum had shown. The discussions 
between Marshall, Stimson, and Stilwell between the 14th and 23d of January 
1942 strongly suggest that events had now persuaded Marshall and Stimson to 
choose the man who had impressed Marshall as being a gifted field com- 
mander and trainer of troops with the added qualification of being thoroughly 
acquainted with China and the Chinese soldier. In any event he decided to 
send Stilwell with all haste to Burma and China after the U.S. Government 
had made the necessary diplomatic arrangements. 69 

The situation was changing from day to day as the Japanese surged on, and 
AMMISCA radios were painting an ever blacker picture of conditions in China. 
They reported that China was not keeping significant Japanese forces in check, 
and that war-weariness and passivity pervaded the nation and the army. For the 
present, the best that could be hoped was that an area in China suitable for 
air attacks on the Japanese lines of communications and homeland might be 
kept free. The United States should not look for much in the way of military 
results from its lend-lease to China; the benefits should be measured in 
diplomatic terms and as such they were a necessary expenditure. If the 
Generalissimo and his supporters were kept in power China would remain at 
least formally belligerent, but if the regime fell the peoples of Asia would 
gravitate toward Japan. Describing Burma as an indispensable air base, 
AMMISCA suggested its primary task should be to obtain proper ground facil- 
ities, communication nets, and antiaircraft cover for American air units in 
Burma. 70 

Between the 14th and 23d of January, Stimson, Marshall, and Stilwell 
discussed sending Stilwell to China and Burma with the mission, as Stilwell 
saw it, to "coordinate and smooth out and run the road, and get various fac- 
tions together and grab command and in general give 'em the works. Money 
no object." 71 Stimson began on the 14th by stating on Soong's authority that 
the Chinese Army would accept an American commander. 72 Asked if he would 
take the post of senior U.S. officer in the China Theater (nothing being said 
about the post of chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek), Stilwell replied that he 
would go where he was sent. Asked his requirements for success in China and 
"especially in the Burma theatre," Stilwell listed them as "executive control, 



69 (1) Interv cite d] n. 65.| (2) On 16 January Marshall authorized Stilwell to draft proposals 
for final agreement witn tne Chinese Foreign Minister. After this was accomplished Stilwell 
prepared his own directive for the mission to China. Memo, Marshall for McCloy, 16 Jan 42. 
WDCSA, Far East ( 1941-42), A46-523- 

70 (1) Rad AMMISCA 163, AMMISCA to AGWAR, 5 Jan 42. AG 381 (12-19-41). (2) 
WPD 4389-58. 

71 The Stilwell Papers, p. 26. 

7 2 Sriwil R lark and White Book (hereafter, Stilwell B&W), 14 Jan 42. (See the Biblio- 
gra phical Note| for an explanation of these copybooks, in which Stilwell recorded his reflections 
uii uic uay b events.) 



72 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 




GEN. GEORGE C. MARSHALL conferring with Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of 
War, in the Munitions Building, Washington, January 1942: 

(or?) command." 73 Marshall told Stilwell to phrase the desired agreement, 
and the letter went over McCloy's signature to Soong for concurrence on 
behalf of the Chinese Government. 74 On the 21st the Chinese Government 
agreed to Stilwell's having executive authority over British, Chinese, and 
American units, especially in Burma, and to his being chief of the General- 
issimo's Allied staff. 75 In the light of this, Marshall again spoke to Stilwell 

7} (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 25. (2) Stilwell Diary, 15, l6Jan 42. (See Biblio graphical Note | 
for an explanation of Stilwell' s day-by-day diary.) 

74 (1) Memo cited |n. t>jj| 2). Appended to Marshall's memorandum was a letter ready for 
McCloy's signature anil daTefl 15 January. In this letter McCloy told Soong: 

"In our [Marshall, Stimson, McCloy, Stilwell] opinion, the services of such an officer could 
be of far greater value, especially in the Burma Theater, where Chinese, American, and British 
factors are all present, if he were given executive power to coordinate these factors. This, of 
course, amounts to command power over Chinese units, as well as British and American, but 
there is no other way to get the same results. Also in his capacity of Chief of Staff for the General- 
issimo., such an officer would be fully cognizant of all matters of policy. An expression of feeling 
of the Generalissimo on this matter would be appreciated." 

75 (1) The Generalissimo concurred in full with the War Department's proposals. Rad, Chiang 
to Soong, 21 Jan 42. OPD Exec 8. (2) Ltr, McCloy to Soong, 23 Jan 42. WDCSA, Far East 
(1941-42), A46-52 3. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



73 



on the 23d: "(Marshall): 'Will you go?' (Stilwell): Til go where I'm sent.' " 76 
That was Stilwell's attitude as revealed in his private papers. He did not seek 
the post; he did not reveal any joy in it; he would go where he was sent. 

The mission proposed for Stilwell, because of the warnings from 
AMMISCA and the demonstrations of Japanese prowess in Malaya, and pos- 
sibly because of the influence of Drum's studies of the China problem, was 
very different from that suggested to Drum. Stilwell was told to go at once to 
the Far East. On arrival at Chungking he would become chief of the 
Generalissimo's as yet nonexistent Allied staff. Stilwell would then go to 
Burma where it was hoped he would take command of the Allied forces there, 
smooth out the bickerings and rivalries, and save Burma for the United 
Nations. Stilwell's expectation of command in Burma began to fade almost 
as soon as he accepted his new post, for he learned that the British had named 
an officer senior to him to command their forces in Burma. 77 

Stilwell's duties as one of the Generalissimo's chiefs of staff— the other 
being Gen. Ho Ying-chin, Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army— were estab- 
lished in an exchange of letters between China's Foreign Minister and the 
Secretary of War. The Chinese diplomat described the Chinese understanding 
of them as: "To supervise and control all United States defense-aid affairs for 
China; under the Generalissimo to command all United States forces in China 
and such Chinese forces as may be assigned to him; to represent the United 
States on any international war council in China and act as the Chief of Staff 
for the Generalissimo; to improve, maintain, and control the Burma Road in 
China." 78 The Soong-Stimson letters also provided that Colonel Chennault 
(Chinese Air Force) would be the highest ranking air officer in China. 79 
Stilwell noted in his diary: "The 'control of defense-aid clause' is to give it to 
me and not Magruder." 80 

76 (1) Stilwell Diary and Stilwell B&W, 23 Jan 42. (2) Stimson cleared Stilwell's appointment 
to China on 23 January 1942. Memo, Stimson for Marshall, 23 Jan 42. WDCSA, Far East 
(1941-42), A46-523. 

77 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 26. (2) On 2 February 1942 Stimson regarded Burma as being 
in such peril that it was first on his list for personal attention. On the 16th he insisted that an 
American must command in Burma, because of the United States' relations with China. He was 
willing to go to the President and fight for it, if General Marshall wanted to make it an issue 
(presumably if the British sent someone of higher rank to Burma). War Council Mtgs, 2, 16 
Feb 42. WDCSA, Notes on War Council, A48-139. (3) Stilwell B&W, 24 Jan 42. 

78 (1) Ltr, Soong to Stimson, 30 Jan 42. U. S. Department of State, United States Relations with 
China: With Special Reference to the Period 1944-1949 (Washington, 1949), p. 469. The exchange 
of letters between Stimson and Soong on 29 and 30 January 1942 is on pages 468—69 of this book. 
(2) Ltr, Stimson to Soong, 29 Jan 42, based on Memo, Stilwell for Marshall, 28 Jan 42, sub: 
Suggested Ltr of Instructions. WPD 4389—64. (3) Soong's original letter of agreement on Stilwell's 
role and authority in the China Theater in WDCSA, Far East ( 1941-42), A46-523. 

79 In replying to Stimson's letter of 29 January, Soong stated that it was the Generalissimo's 
desire to retain "Colonel Chennault as the highest ranking American Air officer in China." Soong's 
acceptance, however, did not close the agreement as far as the War Department was concerned. 
On 3 February, Soong learned that Colonel Bissell, not Chennault, was to be the senior United 
States aviation officer inXhina. Ltr, McCloy to Soong, 3 Feb 42. WDCSA, Far East ( 1941—42), 
A46-523. 

80 Stilwell Diary, 26 Jan 42. 



74 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Stilwell's relations with the British were defined by a Combined Chiefs of 
Staff paper which was a revised version of the proposed instructions to Drum. 
Stilwell's (Chinese) forces if they entered Burma would come under 
ABDACOM, which would issue the necessary directives for his co-operation 
with the British. He would be allowed to establish and use bases, routes, and 
staging areas in India and Burma to support his operations, and he could make 
every effort to increase the capacity of the Burma Road from Rangoon to 
Chungking. To that end, the Burmese authorities would be instructed to make 
all possible improvements. Stilwell could build and operate airfields in Burma. 
He would be the principal liaison agency between Wavell and the General- 
issimo. 81 As for the feelings with which he approached his British and Chinese 
allies, when he took up his work, Stilwell observed: "The Burmese hate the 
British and Chinese; maybe they are partly right." 82 

Stilwell's orders assigning him to duty in China read: 

1. By direction of the President, you are detailed as a member of the General Staff Corps, 
assigned to General Staff with troops, and designated as Chief of Staff to the Supreme Com- 
mander of the Chinese Theater and upon reporting to the Supreme Commander, you are, in 
addition, appointed Commanding General of the United States Army Forces in the Chinese 
Theater of Operations, Burma, and India. 

2. You will assemble in Washington, D. C. immediately such staff as you may select, and 
be prepared to depart, with your staff, at an early date for Chungking, China, where you 
will assume the duties set forth in a letter of instructions to be issued. 83 

The War Department orders to Stilwell were to "increase the effectiveness 
of United States assistance to the Chinese Government for the prosecution of 
the war and to assist in improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese 
Army." 84 These words, or a close paraphrase of them, he put at the head of 
each of the private analyses of his mission that he wrote in the years to come. 
The phrase in Stilwell's War Department orders "to assist in improving the 
combat efficiency of the Chinese Army" presumably meant that he was to assist 
the Generalissimo in such an effort. Formal notification of Stilwell's mission 
was given on 23 January, and he took over Drum's office and part of his staff. 

Looking over Drum's staff studies, his first reaction was unfavorable. 85 As 
he reflected on Drum's papers over the next few days and talked repeatedly to 
Chinese officials in Washington, Stilwell's views on what he needed began to 
change and jell. His conferences with personnel of China Defense Supplies, 
who were to be his colleagues in lend-lease affairs, gave a bad impression of 

81 U.S. ABC— 4/9, 10 Jan 42, sub: Immediate Assistance to China. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. 
Ill, Item 18. 

82 Stilwell B&W, 2 5 Jan 42. Stilwell's phrase is not "pretty right," as in the printed text of 
The Stilwell Papers, page 32. 

83 Ltr Order, TAG to Stilwell, 2 Feb 42. AG 210.311 (2-2^2) OD-E. 

84 Ltr, Marshall to Stilwell, 2 Feb 42, sub: Instructions as U.S. Army Representative to China, 
with 4 Incls. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, It em 36A. 

85 (1) Diary and B&W entries citec jn. 76(TT1 (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 31, 32, 34. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



75 



their approach to China's problems. 86 In the course of his study Stilwell also 
heard of a developing project for bombing Japan. Review of Magruder's 
requests for specialists to train and equip a certain number of Chinese divisions 
enabled Stilwell to determine his personnel needs. 

Putting all of this together in a note to Marshall, Stilwell estimated his 
needs and type of organization on the eve of his departure for China. Stilwell 
asked Marshall to approve the following: (1) that his staff and such forces 
as might join him be called a task force, thus permitting nomenclature more 
appropriate to an organization larger than a military mission; (2) that, as 
available, equipment for thirty Chinese divisions be sent to him; (3) that this 
force be supported by U.S. service units and aviation as they became available; 
(4) that, if Rangoon fell, the flow of supplies would not be stopped but would 
be continued and be diverted to a suitable base in India, preferably Calcutta; 
and (5) that transport aircraft would be allocated to speed the movement of 
supplies to China. The long-range objective of Stilwell's plans was to build up 
the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army and to prepare a land base of opera- 
tions for a final offensive against Japan, in which at least one U.S. corps would 
join. 87 

So that he might arrive with something tangible to cheer the Chinese, 
Stilwell produced a shopping list of ordnance items, which with the air sup- 
port then under consideration, he called the "minimum essential." He asked 
immediate shipment of 500 heavy machine guns, 30,000 Enfield rifles and 
10,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. The manufacture of 7.92-mm. 
ammunition was requested. For artillery, Stilwell wanted 70 75-mm. howitzers 
with 500 rounds each, and 36 old-style (horse-drawn unmodernized) 155-mm. 
howitzers with 1,500 rounds each. 88 

The War Department examined Stilwell's requests, and a few were 
approved. Significantly, the long-range objective was not. There was agree- 
ment to keeping up the flow of supplies to Rangoon, to sending transport 
aircraft as they became available, and to permitting General Stilwell to call 
his group The U.S. Task Force in China. It was stated that 100 75-mm. 
howitzers were on the way and that raw material for China's arsenals was at 

86 Stilwell Diary, 24, 27-31 Jan 42. Stilwell remarked: "Chow at Soong's. . . . Talk about 
freight transport if Rangoon falls. No thought of fighting. The Chinese 'can't do this or that'— just 
a flat statement. Their transport man, C. S. Liu, now has a scheme for getting in via the Persian 
Gulf, Iran, Caspian Sea, Turkestan, Sinkiang, etc!!!! Soong wants dive bombers for the Yangtze, 
and tanks, and planes, and this, and that. He can't get the fundamental picture, of course." 
Stilwell B&W, 27 Jan 42. Beginning on 24 January Stilwell conferred for a week with China 
Defense Supplies officials. 

87 (1) Memo, Stilwell for Marshall, 31 Jan 42. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Items 23, 
24. (2) "A task force consists of those units (combat and service) necessary to carry out certain 
planned operations (task). It has no fixed organization." FM 101-10, WD, 21 Dec 44. Staff 
Officer Field Manual, Organizational, Technical, and Logistical Data, p. 19. 

88 Draft Memo, Stilwell for Marshall, 31 Jan 42, sub: Aid to China. History of CBI, Sec. 
Ill, App. Ill, Item 23. Though unused, this draft memorandum elaborates Stilwell's requests and 
explains reasons for each request. Stilwell wanted the items to be shipped to Calcutta without 
delay. 



76 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Rangoon. Shipping machine guns would complicate the problem of ammuni- 
tion supply, but a few 155-mm. pieces could be sent. The final list included 200 
machine guns and 20,000 rifles; 5,000 rounds for the 155's; light artillery as 
requested with 148,000 rounds. 89 

In organizing the personnel of his group before leaving for China, Stilwell 
gave its members assignments based on those in a corps headquarters. This 
suggested that he was preparing to assume command responsibilities in Burma, 
"over such Chinese Forces as may be assigned" to him. For personnel, he drew 
on the staff he had had as III Corps commander in California and inherited 
others from Drum's group of advisers. With the concurrence of War Plans 
Division, Stilwell named his headquarters, plus such U.S. forces as might come 
under his command, The United States Task Force in China. 90 

Moving Toward a Larger Concept 

The War Department concept of aid to China went through a very 
considerable evolutionary process in January and February. In retrospect, it 
seems that so many U.S. projects to aid the Chinese were set afoot in those 
months as to make it obvious that a mission could not co-ordinate and control 
them all. Something closer to an American theater of operations was more 
and more plainly indicated. When General Drum first came to Washington, 
the solution had seemed to be a more impressive mission to the Generalissimo, 
largely diplomatic, with lend-lease, guerrillas, and a minute air force as tokens 
of good will. But the day before General Drum arrived, the Chinese made 
proposals that, when joined with others, ultimately made an American theater 
of operations essential. On New Year's Day they requested lend-lease materiel 
to build a road across north Burma to tap the Burma Road. The route would 
be Ledo (India)-Fort Hertz-Myitkyina-Lung-ling. The slow mills began to 
grind and the proposal went to AMMISCA, which in reply outlined the pros 
and cons, pointing out that despite the Generalissimo's optimistic figure of 
five months, two and one half years would be a better estimate of the construc- 
tion time. Support quickly came to the project from high places in 
Washington. 91 

Lauchlin Currie told the President on 24 January that a road from India to 

89 Memo with 4 Incls, Col Benjamin G. Ferris, G-4 Stilwell Mission, for G— 4 WDGS, 6 Feb 
42. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 37. On 7 February Eisenhower wrote on Ferris's 
memorandum that the list "has been approved by the C/S for the W. D., and by Gen. Somervell 
as Acting D C/S." 

9° WPD 4389-64. 

9I (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 26, 38. (2) Ltr, William S. Youngman, Executive Vice-Pres, 
CDS, to Stettinius, 1 Jan 42. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. (3) Ltr, Lt Col John E. 
McCammon to Currie, 13 Jan 42. AG (AMMISCA) 611. (4) Ltr, Magruder to Rear Echelon, 
AMMISCA, 30 Jan 42, sub: Rpt on Szechwan-Assam Highway, AG (AMMISCA) 611. (5) 
Aldrich Diary, 13, 18, 20 Jan 42. (6) Rad AMMISCA 201, Magruder to AGWAR, 19 Jan 42. 
AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 1A. (7) Magruder sent Maj. Paul L. Freeman, Jr., to Calcutta to 
reconnoiter its use as a port to receive diverted lend-lease cargoes from Rangoon. MacMorland 
Diary, 19 Jan 42. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



77 



China across north Burma would do much to compensate for the incidents 
which had disturbed Sino-American relations. Currie feared they would be 
further upset by the probable fall of Rangoon. 92 Following a memorandum 
from the War Plans Division to Marshall, which urged such a road, plus 
another from Imphal to Kalewa, as an "urgent military necessity," the War 
Department sent a radio to AMMISCA to hammer home the importance 
attached to building such a road as soon as possible. 93 Visiting India, the 
Generalissimo reached agreement with the Government of India on a road 
from Ledo as well as another from Imphal, plus road, port, and railroad facili- 
ties for lend-lease in India. In early February the Chinese statesman announced 
that a road from Assam to China would be built. The Allied military repre- 
sentatives in Chungking concurred, and Washington gave its blessing with 
lend-lease. So, before Stilwell ever saw the road that was to bear his name, it 
was formally agreed on by the three powers, and the United States was com- 
mitted to procure lend-lease aid, though the project was not yet a U.S. 
responsibility. 94 

The airline over the bottlenecks of the Burma Road was viewed as a 
recourse that could be applied immediately by sending transport aircraft to 
India. At the most optimistic rational estimate the Imphal Road would take 
seven months, but the transports could fly at once. T. V. Soong sent a memo- 
randum to the President on 31 January 1942 forecasting the imminent closure 
of the Burma Road. In it he made the memorable statement that only 700 
miles of "comparatively level" stretches lay between Sadiya, India, and 
Kunming, China. This was the famous Hump, as villainous and forbidding 
a stretch of terrain as there was in the world. 95 One hundred DC-3's on this 
route, Soong assured the President, could fly 12,000 tons a month into 
China. Roosevelt approved and told the Generalissimo, "Definite assurance 

92 Memo, Currie for Roosevelt, 24 Jan 42, sub: Chinese Situation. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, 
App. Ill, Item 19. 

93 (1) Gerow's memorandum gave the Chinese figure of five months as the time to build the 
Ledo Road, via Fort Hertz and Myitkyina. Memo, Gerow for Marshall, 11 Feb 42. AG 
(AMMISCA) 611. (2) Rad, Eisenhower to Magruder, 22 Feb 42. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) 
Sec 1A. 

94 (1) AG (AMMISCA) 611. (2) On 14 February Currie suggested that copies of corre- 
spondence on the new roads be made available to the U.S. Army Engineers because of future 
responsibilities that might be involved. The War Plans Division stated that it knew of no projects 
in the China-Burma area for which the Chief of Engineers was responsible and recommended 
filing Currie's memorandum. Memo, Currie for TAG, 14 Feb 42; Memo, Brig Gen Robert W. 
Crawford, sub: Information for Chief of Engrs, 23 Feb 42. AG (AMMISCA) 611. 

95 (1) Memo, Soong for Stilwell, and Incl, Memo for President, 31 Jan 42. History of CBI, 
Sec. Ill, App. Ill, Item 22. (2) Though a reconnaissance of the Imphal Road by an AMMISCA 
officer in mid-March 1942 revealed it could not be completed in seven months, and then could 
be used only to support the Allied forces in Burma, Soong told the War Department that it 
would be open to traffic on 1 April and urged that Chinese lend-lease equipment be stockpiled 
in India to be sent over it. In spring 1942 he suggested a line of supply from the Arctic Circle 
south across Siberia and northern China to Chungking. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 529. 
Meanwhile, materiel was requisitioned by China Defense Supplies to be sent over these non- 
existent supply routes. See AG (AMMISCA) 611, the best single source on this period and 
subject. 



78 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



can now be given you that the supply route to China via India can be main- 
tained by air even though there should be a further set back in Rangoon." 96 
Before his departure for China, Stilwell was told to set up the airline to China 
even though the Burma Road was held. 

Therefore, the day he met the President for an interview and final word, 
Stilwell could write in his diary, "Events are forcing all concerned to see the 
importance of Burma. We must get the air line [the Hump] going at once, 
and also build both the back-country roads [Ledo Road; Imphal Road]." 97 
A mission could not handle this, an American task force was required. That 
night, Stilwell recorded in his diary that the President had told him that the 
war would be over in 1943, that one year hence would see the turn. Stilwell 
was to tell the Generalissimo that Germany was not the number one enemy, 
that all enemies were equally important. The United States was in to see it 
through, and would fight until China regained "all [Stilwell's italics] her lost 
territory." He saw Harry Hopkins too, and Hopkins stated flatly that Stilwell 
was going to command troops, that the Generalissimo might in addition offer 
him command of the whole Chinese Army. 98 

The Generalissimo's chief aide-de-camp told Magruder: 

Just received a telegram from Generalissimo Chiang saying: "The telegram from Mr. 
Stimpson [sk] as forwarded by General Magruder on February 9th was respectfully 
acknowledged. General Stilwell's coming to China and assuming duty here is most wel- 
come." The Generalissimo further said: "I am deeply gratified in learning of the American 
War Department's help in supplying arms and equipment for the AVG." In notifying 
you of this matter I wish you the best of health." 

Stimson's agreements with Soong and the growing threat in the Middle 
East expedited War Department plans to give Stilwell the means to establish, 
maintain, and protect the roads and airlines, and to implement his mission to 
China. Designated as The United States Task Force in China, Stilwell and his 
staff left for Chungking on 11 February. 100 War Department directives 
streamed out to various officers, detailing them to duty in several projects 
scheduled to join Stilwell in the Far East. Most advanced were the China air 
projects under the supervision of Col. Clayton L. Bissell. Force Aquila (code 
designation for the Tenth Air Force) was soon to leave the United States under 
Col. Caleb V. Haynes with orders to report to Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton 
upon arrival in India. Brereton was already en route to India from Java with 
remnants of a small air force. Haynes carried instructions for Brereton to be 
prepared to keep open the supply route between India and China and, if 

96 (1) Rad, Roosevelt to Generalissimo, 9 Feb 42. Bk VI, Sec 3, Hopkins Papers. (2) 
Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 513. 

97 The Stilwell Papers, p. 38. 

98 Stilwell Diary, 9 Feb 42. Compare the above with page 36 of The Stilwell Papers. 

99 Ltr, Gen Ho Yao-tzu, Chief, Generalissimo's Aide-de-Camp Office, to Magruder, 14 Feb 42. 
SNF-56. 

100 WP D 4389-64. 



WAR CREATES A CHINA THEATER 



79 



ordered, to conduct offensive missions from China Theater. Though this latter 
was set forth as a goal of his labors, Brereton was also told that Stilwell could 
order him to conduct such missions from India and Burma as Stilwell thought 
necessary. These orders made Brereton, rather than Bissell or Chennault, 
responsible to Stilwell for establishing U.S. air power in Asia. 

Task Force Aquila, containing the Headquarters and Headquarters Squad- 
ron, Tenth Air Force, was the heart of the China aviation project. Other 
elements of the project were: (a) Col. Leo H. Dawson's flight of 33 A-29's, 
designed to deliver the lend-lease planes to the Chinese Air Force while the 
pilots would join the Tenth Air Force; (b) Col. Harry A. Halverson's flight of 
B-24's, known as the HALPRO Group and destined for the Tenth; (c) a 
group of 51 P-40E's at Takoradi, West Africa, for delivery to the AVG; (d) Col. 
James H. Doolittle's mission of medium bombers (later 16 B-25's), destined 
for the Tenth; and (e) a block of 35 DC-3's for transport duty with the Tenth. 
On 22 February, Colonel Bissell left for China to co-ordinate the China avia- 
tion projects. 101 

General Brereton plunged at once into his task of reorganization, reporting 
that he would set up a service command area and a combat area. The Ferry 
Command headquarters were to be at Karachi rather than Bangalore. He would 
put Tenth Air Force Headquarters at New Delhi to be near General Head- 
quarters (India), the highest command echelon in the Indian Army. Brig. 
Gen. Earl L. Naiden would be chief of staff of the Tenth Air Force and Brig. 
Gen. Francis M. Brady would run the Ferry Command. In order of priority 
Brereton asked Washington to send air warning equipment and personnel, a 
P-38 reconnaissance squadron, fighter units, and antiaircraft. 102 

In Iran, Brig. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler was informed that he was now 
commanding general of the Services of Supply in China, Burma, and India, and 
that his mission was to do whatever was necessary to rush equipment and 
supplies through to Stilwell. For this, he could assume any necessary supply 
and administrative functions in India. To guide his planning, Wheeler was told 
that a major convoy had been diverted from Australia to India, and that 120 
fighter aircraft would arrive soon after. For the American forces in India, 
Wheeler was to keep a six months' level of supply, for the 1,000 men to be in 
China, a nine months' level. 103 Naming the commander of a Services of Supply 

101 ( 1) Memo, Bissell for Arnold, 20 Feb 42, sub: China Aviation Projects, AG (AIR) 381 China. 
(2) Memo, Col Harold L. George, ACofS Air, WPD, for CofS USA, 24 Feb 42, sub: Establish- 
ment of an American Air Force in India. Item 2, OPD Green Book (Asiatic Sec), Gen Ref Br, 
OCMH. (3) Ltr, Arnold to Haynes, 21 Feb 42, sub: Ltr of Instructions. Item 24, OPD Green 
Book. (4) Rad WAR 637, Hq AAF to American MA, Cairo, for Haynes, 21 Feb 42. AG 400.3295 
(8-9-41) Sec 8. (5) Rad WAR 239, Marshall to Stilwell, 28 Feb 42. AG 381 (2-24-42) 2. 

102 Rad WAR 239, Marshall to Stilwell, 28 Feb 42; Rad AMSEG 516, Brereton to Arnold, 
2 Mar 42; Memo, Eisenhower for Secy WDGS, 25 Feb 42, sub: Comd in India. AG 381 
(2-24-42) 2. 

105 (1) Memo, Maj Gen Brehon B. Somervell, G-4, for TAG, 27 Feb 42, sub: Designation 
of CG SOS USAF in India. AG 381 (2-24-42) Sec 2. (2) Rad AMMISCA 239, Marshall to 
Stilwell, 28 Feb 42. AMMISCA Radio File, Job-11. 



80 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



for Stilwell's task force is a far cry from the concepts of the hastily assembled 
Notes on China that Drum was given as he waited in Stimson's anteroom. 

Stilwell was brought into this redirection of policy and planning with a 
clarification of his powers and mission. With the rank of lieutenant general 
he was directed to assume command of all U.S. forces in India on his arrival 
there, as against the earlier order making the effective date his arrival at Chung- 
king. 104 After giving notice of his intentions to General Wavell, Stilwell could 
move any of his men from India or Burma to China in line with his "primary 
mission," laid down anew in terms of classic simplicity: "Support China!" 105 

Summary 

In February 1942 the United States thus took a major step forward in 
carrying out its historic attitude toward China. China and the United States 
were now more closely associated than ever before in their history. China had 
come so far from the days of her nineteenth century impotence that a Chinese 
leader, Chiang Kai-shek, was the Supreme Commander of an Allied theater of 
war, which meant that any British or American forces to enter it would be 
under his orders. To carry on his duties as Supreme Commander he had asked 
for and had been given an American general to serve as chief of the General- 
issimo's Allied staff. This officer, General Stilwell, had in turn been given a 
task force with which to sustain the Chinese. Thus, the beginnings of a mech- 
anism to solve the problems of Sino-American co-operation in warring on 
Japan had been assembled. The problems of that co-operation remained to be 
solved. AMMISCA's radios had given clear warning of what they would be, 
that the Chinese war effort was in the realm of politics and propaganda rather 
than on the field of battle. How could the Chinese be induced to pull their 
weight in the common struggle? Stilwell's task would be a heavy one and it 
would require the full support and encouragement of his government if he 
were to succeed in it. 

104 (1) Memo cite dln. 102| (2) Stilwell's date of rank as Lieutenant General, AUS, was 25 
February 1942. Rad ASTMTSTa 230, AG WAR to Magruder, 26 Feb 42. AMMISCA Radio File, 
Job-11. 

105 CM-OUT 247, Marshall to Stilwell, 3 Mar 42. Original draft of this radio with note, 
"O.K., G.C.M.," in AG 381 (2-24-42) Sec 2. 



CHAPTER III 



Stilwell Begins His Mission 

When General Stilwell landed in India, he stepped upon a stage whose 
dimensions were gigantic. The area of China, Burma, and India was about 
equal to that of the United States, but its population of nearly 900,000,000 
was almost seven times that of Stilwell's nation. The human scene in China, 
Burma, and India was as complex as the geographic. Here were two of the 
world's oldest and greatest civilizations, the Indian and the Chinese. Politi- 
cally, Chinese nationalism was triumphant and Indian nationalism was grow- 
ing ever stronger. India was part of the British Commonwealth and British 
administrators and soldiers had to consider grave problems of imperial policy. 
In China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had to take the long view, had to 
make momentous decisions. No statesman in Asia could think that simple 
victory was the goal of war. Asia and its problems had been in the world for 
a long time. The day after the war ended the problems would still be there. 

Two spurs of the Himalaya Mountains sharply divide the three nations 
of India, Burma, and China. Between India and Burma are the Naga Hills, 
Chin Hills, and the Arakan Yoma, some of them as high as 10,000 feet. They 
curve in a great arc from near Tibet down to the Bay of Bengal. In early 1942 
this barrier was crossed by nothing more than jungle trails, though the Gov- 
ernments of India and Burma were hard at work on a road linking the two 
states. The hills and valleys are covered with tropical forest, and in many areas 
pestilence is endemic. Between Burma and China is another rampart behind 
which lies an immense plateau on the China side. This mountain barrier, too, 
comes very near the sea so that Burma, lying as it does among the mountains, 
is something like a long blind alley, most easily reached by sea. 

Communications in China, Burma, and India were poor. China had been 
isolated by a Japanese blockade. She had few trucks, for a nation of 400,000,000, 
and the Japanese in China had been at pains to take the few key rail centers 
in China's simple rail net. The Chinese were amazingly ingenious at main- 
taining wire and radio communication, but the net was not adequate for heavy 
traffic. The Indian rail system was very heavily burdened by the demands of 
war, production, and the growing Indian economy, as India was the arsenal 
for the Allied effort in the Middle East. Indian telephone and telegraph com- 
munications seemed rather inefficient to those Americans who used them. 



82 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



To make matters still more difficult for Stilwell, Indian ports were 12,000 miles 
from the United States, so that it took a cargo ship almost two months to 
make the voyage. For a final complicating factor, there was the sheer physical 
problem of exerting effort in a subtropical climate where malaria and intestinal 
diseases were endemic. 1 

The theater of military operations, Burma, was 261,610 square miles in 
area, about as big as Texas. Within Burma, three g reat rivers r un north and 
south, their valleys dividing the land into corridors. | (Map 2)*| From east to 
west, these are the Salween, Sittang, and Irrawaddy. With its mouth at 
Moulmein, the Salween River descends from the mountain mass along the 
Sino-Burmese border, where it flows through a mighty gorge. The Sittang 
and Irrawaddy Rivers are separated by the Pegu Yoma which, save for an 
isolated peak to the north, rarely rises above 2,000 feet in height and is often 
dissected by river valleys. Nevertheless, these hills effectively divide lower 
Burma into the Irrawaddy and Sittang valleys. If a defender of Burma falls 
back from the sea coast to the north, he finds the Irrawaddy valley grows wider 
because the arc of the Arakan Yoma and the Chin Hills (Burma's western 
wall) swings towards the west and India; then as he falls back still farther 
north the defender finds himself in the plain of central Burma as the Pegu 
Yoma ends. 

The climate of Burma is an important military feature, for during the rainy 
season fighting is almost impossible. Burma lies in the monsoon belt. The 
rains come in mid-May and last till mid-October. In all sections of Burma, 
saving only the dry zone of the Irrawaddy from Prome to Mandalay, the rain- 
fall is extremely heavy, averaging about two hundred inches a year along the 
frontiers and in the north. In the dry zone, but thirty inches of rain fall in the 
year. The best of the year in Burma is said to be the cool, dry season from 
November to February. 

The principal lines of communications were the rivers and the Burma 
Railways. The great Irrawaddy River is navigable for 900 miles, its tributary, 
the Chindwin, for 350 miles, and fleets of river steamers carried tons of cargo 
from Rangoon to Bhamo, which lies almost on the Chinese border. The 
Salween River, because of its rapids, is only navigable for short stretches, and 
a tidal bore in the Sittang limits the river's use to small craft. 

The military situation which Stilwell faced in China and Burma was a 
somber one. Thirty days before Stilwell's arrival, General Magruder described 
the Chinese situation of February 1942 in blunt terms. He told the War 
Department that Chinese and Sinophile propagandists had painted a grossly 
misleading picture of China's war effort, which if accepted at face value would 

1 History of Services of Supply, China, India, Burma Theater, 28 February 1942—24 October 
1944, pp. 2-7. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 
* Inside back cover. 




DR. GORDON SEAGRAVE and a Burmese nurse examine a uvunded Chinese whiter. {Photo- 
graph taken after Sea grave was commissioned in the U.S. Army. J 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



83 



gravely impair future American planning. Magruder recommended credits and 
lend-lease aid to China, not because they would increase China's potential 
offensive strength, but because they would keep the Generalissimo in power, 
prevent the end of China's passive resistance, and retain the possibility of using 
Chinese territory to base air attacks on Japan. Offensives in China, said 
Magruder, would have to be made by foreign units while Chinese manpower 
simply flowed into the military vacuum that might thus be created (as the 
Japanese massed their garrisons to meet the threat). The Japanese forces 
allegedly contained by the Chinese numbered twenty-eight inferior divisions, 
many of them really held by fear of the Soviet Union. The Chinese had no 
intention of taking offensive action, which would inevitably dissipate the 
economic and political value of their troops. 2 

Dealing with Chinese officials was extremely difficult, Magruder went on, 
because of their utter disregard for logistics. They had no idea of the capabili- 
ties of sea and air transport, and they made extravagant demands which they 
wanted fulfilled immediately. Their pet strategic cure-all was air power, and 
they were unmoved by the fact that their transport system would not support 
a tenth of the aircraft that they wanted to have in China. Magruder was 
convinced that some plain, blunt speaking would be necessary in dealing with 
the Generalissimo. He was a great man, Magruder conceded; he held China's 
factions and provinces in the semblance of nationality, but the fact had to be 
driven home to him that China was making a minimum effort though it stood 
to lose everything if the United Nations failed. In reply the War Department 
stated that it was aware of the situation within China and that Magruder's 
remarks confirmed its opinions. Steps were being taken to curb the propaganda 
extravagances of which Magruder complained. 3 

The First Burma Campaign began when the Japanese attacked southern 
Burma from Siam on 20 January 1942 with about 18,000 men. (Maps\2\tnd[3) 
Their purpose in occupying Burma was to cut the line of communications 
from Rangoon to Kunming and then to hold Burma as the southwestern 
anchor of a great defense perimeter swinging from Southeast Asia through the 
Southwest and Central Pacific Areas. 4 Moving almost straight across south 
Burma from east to west toward Rangoon, the Japanese 35th and 33d Divisions, 
of two regiments each, had gone from victory to victory over Indian, British, 
and Burmese troops, who were inexperienced, untrained in jungle warfare, and 
overly dependent on motor transport. The Japanese successes had been 
crowned by the Battle of the Sittang Bridge on 22-23 February, when the 
Japanese succeeded in ambushing two Indian infantry brigades of the 17th 



2 Rad AMMISCA 256, Magruder to Marshall, 8 Feb 42. AMMISCA Radio File, Job-11. 
3 (1) Ibid. (2) Rad AMMISCA 192, Marshall to Magruder, 15 Feb 42. AMMISCA Radio 
File, Job-11. 

4 USSBS, Naval Analysis Div, The Campaigns of the Pacific War (Washington, 1946), pp. 3, 43. 



84 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Indian Division on the east bank of the Sittang River. The two brigades were 
cut to pieces. On 2 March the Japanese crossed the Sittang River, moved past 
Pegu, and swung south on Rangoon. 5 

When after the Battle of the Sittang Bridge the menace to Rangoon became 
obvious and imminent, the AMMISCA personnel in Rangoon on Magruder's 
orders destroyed all movable lend-lease stores. Much equipment had been sent 
north, the rate hitting 1,000 tons a day as disaster neared, but it was necessary 
to burn 972 trucks in various stages of assembly, 5,000 tires, 1,000 blankets and 
sheeting, and a ton of odds and ends. A great deal of lend-lease was transferred 
to the imperial forces in Burma: 300 Bren guns with 3,200,000 rounds, 1,000 
submachine guns with 180,000 rounds of ammunition, 260 jeeps, 683 trucks, 
and 100 field telephones. 6 

The Japanese took Rangoon on 6 March, while the 17th Indian Division 
fought its way out of a possible Japanese encirclement and fell back north up 
the Irrawaddy valley. The Japanese 33d Division began to follow the 17th 
Indian Division up the Irrawaddy valley. The 55th Division in the Sittang 
valley was facing the 1st Burma Division, which latter had not been engaged as 
a unit. The orders from General Wavell to the British defenders were to hold 
upper Burma as long as possible to cover the oil fields at Yenangyaung, to keep 
contact with the Chinese, and to protect the road being hastily built from 
Assam to Burma. 7 

As of early March, the Japanese plans for the next phase of the Burma 
campaign seem to have been elastic, and still in process of formulation. They 
suggest an intention to make the main Japanese effort via Rangoon-Toungoo- 
Mandalay, which if successful would isolate Burma from China and thus cut 
off any Chinese troops who might come to the aid of Burma's defenders. 
Japanese reinforcements arriving through Rangoon would be committed to the 
Japanese right. 8 

The most hopeful note in the Burma military situation was that Chinese 
troops were moving in, in force. Shortly after the "qualified acceptance" of 
Chinese reinforcements and the injury to Chinese pride caused by the Tulsa 
incident it became necessary for the British to ask China's aid in defending 
Burma. It was then apparent to them that the "violence, fury, skill, and might 

5 (1) Japanese Study 88. (2) Interrogs, Lt Col Minoru Kouchi, Lt Gen Yutaka Takeuchi. 
Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (See Bibliographical Note.) General Takeuchi places the Japanese strength 
at 16,000. 

6 There were, however, 19,052 tons of lend-lease materials in dead storage which were left 
behind: "miscellaneous light loads for dead storage, 903 tons; industrial machinery, 3,030^ tons; 
electrical equipment, 686 tons; and construction materials, 14,4321/2 tons." Rpt, St. John to 
Stilwell, 10 Mar 42, sub: Rpt on Rangoon Opn from 1 Jan 42 to Evacuation Date. Item 47, Port 
of Rangoon Folder, CT 42, Dr 4, KCRC. 

7 (1) "Report by General the Honourable Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, K.C.B., C.S.I., 
D.S.O., M.C., on Operations in Burma from 5th March, 1942, to 20th May, 1942," Supplement to 
The London Gazette, March 11, 1948, pars. 3, 15, 16. (2) Japanese Study 88. 

8 Japanese Study 88. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



85 



of Japan has far exceeded anything we had been led to expect." 9 The original 
deployment in Burma, which was effected before hostilities began, was based 
on the prospect of a Japanese drive through the Southern Shan States via an 
existing and presumably inviting road. Subsequent events in Malaya, however, 
showed that the mobility of the Japanese forces had been underestimated. The 
Malaya operations revealed that the enemy were not tied to roads, and might, 
therefore, be capable of moving directly across south Burma on Rangoon. 
Therefore British and Indian battalions had to move from the Shan States and 
Mandalay to around Moulmein and were replaced with the Chinese 5th and 
6th Armies. 10 

Since transport was scarce, troop movements were made slowly. Moving 
the balance of the Chinese 93d Division (6th Army) into Burma was agreed to 
by General Wavell on request from Burma Army headquarters on 19 January. 
Two days later he agreed to the 49th Division. The Chinese Ministry of War 
issued orders to move the last of the 6th Army's three divisions on 3 February. 
The General Officer Commanding, Burma, Lt. Gen. T. J. Hutton, discussed 
the matter with the Generalissimo when the latter visited India and reached 
an understanding. On 31 January Hutton asked WavelPs permission to admit 
the 5th Army, the Generalissimo concurred on 3 February, and movement 
began on 28 February. General Wa veil's action preceded the intervention of 
Churchill and Roosevelt. Prompted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who thought 
no political or administrative difficulties should be allowed to prevent the 
Chinese from joining in the defense of Burma, Roosevelt had personally raised 
the matter with Churchill. 11 

So began China's share in the First Burma Campaign. There was no diffi- 
culty in supplying the 93d Division because its arrival had been anticipated. 
The 49th Division was something of a problem, but by mid-March it was 
comfortably settled in huts. The Temporary-55th Division was the last of the 
6th Army to arrive — a new unit, badly led, meagerly equipped, and poorly 
trained. 12 

9 Reprinted from Winston S. Churchill, Secret Session Speeches, compiled with introductory notes 
by Charles Eade (New York, 1946), p. 54. Copyright, 1946, by Simon and Schuster, Inc. 

10 (1) Col E. C. V. Foucar, M. C, Draft Narrative of the First Burma Campaign (December 
1941-May 1942), 23 Sep 43, pp. 38, 48. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (Hereafter, Foucar.) (2) Ltr and 
Incl, Maj Gen S. W. Kirby, Cabinet Office, Hist Sec, London, to Sunderland, 21 Nov 51, HIS 
330.14 CBI 1951. 

"(1) Foucar, pp. 131-32. (2) Rad, MA London, 19 Feb 42. Item 1377, Msg File of Feb 11-20, 
1942, A47-36. (3) '"Report by Lieut. -General T. J. Hutton, C.B., M.C., on Operations in Burma 
from 27th December, 1941, to 5th March, 1942," Supplement to The London Gazette, March 11, 
1948, pars. 21-24. (4) Memo, Gerow for U.S. Secy for Collaboration, 20 Jan 42. ABC 336 China 
(26 Jan 42) Sec 1A, A48-224. (5) JCS 1, 31 Jan 42, sub: Co-operation with Chiang Kai-shek. 
(6) CCS 22, 2 Feb 42, sub: Co-operation with Chiang Kai-shek. (7) Memo, Gerow for TAG, 22 
Jan 42, sub: Far Eastern Situation. AG 381 (11-27-41) Sec 1. (8) Rad, Churchill to POTUS 
(President Roosevelt), 7 Feb 42. Bk VI, Sec 3, Hopkins Papers. 

12 Brig John F. Bowerman, British Ln Off with 6th Army, Notes on Duties with Chinese 
Expeditionary Force, Combat Rpts and Misc Ln OrT's Rpts. Albacore Hist File, Northern Combat 
Area Command Files, KCRC. 



86 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The Command Situation, China-Burma-India, March 1942 

The rapid Japanese successes were forcing an alteration in the system of 
unified Anglo-American command set up at Arcadia. Possibly foreshadowed 
by Churchill's comment of 10 February that he clearly understood the President 
would have the primary responsibility in dealing with China in all cases, and 
following soon after Wavell's ABDACOM was dissolved on 25 February, a 
CCS proposal of 8 March 1942 suggested a triple division of strategic responsi- 
bility. The whole Pacific, including China, would be under American direction 
though local operational control in China would be with the Generalissimo. 
The United States would make decisions on broad strategy, which would in- 
clude offensives in a northwesterly direction from the main U.S. bases and 
attacks on Japan proper from China. From Singapore to and including the 
Middle East would be the British sphere of responsibility though the United 
States would continue lend-lease support. The Atlantic theater would be an 
area of combined responsibility. Co-ordinating operations between the areas 
would remain the subject of study and recommendation by the CCS. In accept- 
ing the CCS's proposal, Churchill assumed that any large-scale operations to 
seize the initiative would be discussed by the CCS in Washington and not 
ordered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( JCS) unilaterally. 13 

In compliance with this arrangement, Stilwell was told by the War Depart- 
ment on 15 March that Wavell was now "Supreme Commander, India," that 
the CCS had made Wavell responsible for operations in Burma, and was 
reminded that any of his forces operating in India or Burma would be under 
WavelPs command. 14 

There were many implications in this division of responsibility as regarded 
Burma, all containing seeds of future trouble. The Generalissimo's concurrence 
was not invited, which angered him. 15 Nor was it suggested to him that he was 
exercising "local operational command" under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A 
major campaign was under way in Burma, which lay on the border between 

On 2 February 1942 the Joint Staff" Planners of the JCS could state academically that 
agreed Anglo-American strategy was to hold the areas from which future offensives might be 
launched. Twelve days of Japanese advances forced revision of this paper. JPS 4, 2 Feb 42, sub: 
Agreed Concepts of Grand Strategy. (2) Japanese success was directly responsible for its successor, 
JPS 4— A, 14 Feb 42, sub: Agreed concepts of Grand Strategy. (3) Memo for Record, signed HLH, 
on telephone talk with Churchill, 1 Feb 42; Cable 527, Hopkins to Churchill, 11 Feb 42; Rad 28, 
London to POTUS, 12 Feb 42. Hopkins Papers. The point at issue was the Chinese sitting with 
the Pacific War Council in London, but the adjective "all" in the phrase "dealing with China in 
all cases" seems governing. (4) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 502. (5) Cable, Roosevelt to 
Hopkins, 16 Feb 42, Roosevelt and Hopkins MS, VI, 87. (6) Cable 115, Roosevelt to Churchill, 
8 Mar 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. (7) The proposal was carefully worked out by the CCS machinery 
and drafted by Eisenhower. At the 3 March 1942 meeting the CCS agreed to an Anglo-American 
operational boundary roughly along the line of the Malay Barrier. CCS 9th Mtg, 3 Mar 42. (8) 
Cable 46, Churchill to Roosevelt, 18 Mar 42. WDCSA 381, A46-52 3. 

14 Rad AMMISCA 247, Marshall to Stilwell, 15 Mar 42. SNF-56. 

15 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. IV, The First Campaign in Burma, p. 10. (Hereafter, The 
Campaign in Burma.) 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



87 



the Middle Eastern and Pacific spheres of responsibility. Any Sino-British 
operation in Burma would thus be based on two separate areas of strategic 
responsibility. Moreover, according to the CCS proposal, a British subject com- 
manded in Burma. Six Chinese divisions, as against two British, would shortly 
be in that area. What would happen if the Generalissimo insisted that, as 
China supplied the men, it should also supply the commander? General Stilwell 
had been sent to Asia with the thought, amo ng others, that he would 
command in Burma, but this was now impossi b\t\{Chart 1)\ 

Below the CCS level, but independent of its direction, came the General- 
issimo's China Theater, as created at Arcadia. There were five elements in the 
command structure at Chungking: the Generalissimo, the Chinese Army, the 
Joint Military Council, AMMISCA, and Stilwell as chief of the Generalissimo's 
joint staff. Because of the decisions of Arcadia, the Generalissimo had a dual 
status, as the Chinese leader and as an Allied commander. The Generalissimo 
was Commander in Chief of the Chinese Forces and Chairman of the Supreme 
National Defense Council, a post like that of Prime Minister. As Supreme 
Allied Commander, he was in command of all Allied forces in China, precisely 
as MacArthur and Eisenhower were to be in their theaters. They, however, were 
under the CCS. whose task it was to reconcile national differences and 
recommend directives in the common interest, whereas the Generalissimo was 
accountable to himself alone, free to act as he thought China's interest might 
require, and free to order his two chiefs of staff, Stilwell and Ho Ying-chin, 
accordingly. When the Generalissimo's co-operation was desired by the United 
States, it had to be obtained by diplomatic processes. 

As Supreme Commander of the China Theater, the Generalissimo was 
responsible for operations carried on in it. It was the Generalissimo's responsi- 
bility to make decisions and to lay down the broad lines of policy he desired to 
have followed. Both as Supreme Commander and as Generalissimo he had to 
supervise the training, equipping, and supplying of his troops, and the per- 
formance of duty by his subordinates. His chiefs of staff were advisers only, 
not executive officers. 

Stilwell, as the Generalissimo's chief of joint staff, was placed in a difficult 
position from the beginning. He was sent to China to aid the Generalissimo 
in discharging the duties of Supreme Commander of an Allied theater. In this 
role he was assistant to a commander who was a free agent and whose con- 
ceptions of China's interests did not always agree with those of the CCS. But 
Stilwell had three other roles. He was commanding general of the American 
forces in India and Burma as well as in China; he was the military representa- 
tive of the President of the United States in Chungking; and he was dispenser 
of lend-lease materiel for the United States. His roles would be workable while 
the Republic of China and the United States agreed. When they disagreed or 
when they were seeking an agreement, Stilwell was automatically placed in a 
dilemma, uncertain whether to comply with the wishes of the man who was 



Chart i— Division of Allied Command Responsibilities in Southeast 

Asia: March-April 1942 



WAR CABINET 

(Prime Minister 
Winston S. Churchill) 



Brit 
Chiefs < 


ish 

af Staff 






Supreme C 
1 Inc 
(Gen A. 1 


ommander 
lia 

>. Wavell) 



SUPREME NATIONAL 
DEFENSE COUNCIL 
(Gmo Chiang Kai-shek) 




Burma Army 
(Gen H. R. L. G. Alexander) 



1 Burma Corps 
Gen W. J. Slim) 



CEF b in Burma 
Gen J. W. Stilwell) 



SUPREME ALLIED 
COMMANDER 
China Theater 
(Gmo Chiang Kai-shek) 



Joint 
Chief of Staff 
(Lt Gen J. W. Stilwell) 



P 

| 

1 Joint Staff i 

China Theater I 

7 ' 

I 

1 

1 1 

I Allied Forces | 

J China Theater | 



Stilwell Group 



COMMANDER IN CHIEF 
United States Army 
(Pres F. D. Roosevelt) 



loint 
its of 



Chiefs of Staff 



] t CofS 

United States Army 






U.S. Armed 


Forces in CBI 



• National Military Council 

* Chinese Expeditionary Force 



Command 

Proposed 

Liaison 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



89 



his immediate superior and Allied theater commander or to follow the direc- 
tives of the Joint and Combined Chiefs. Ideally, his Chinese and American 
superiors should have agreed on and issued him a combined directive. In prac- 
tice, Stilwell's American superiors would order him to secure the assent of his 
Chinese superiors, a process vexing to the Chinese, who would have greatly 
preferred the reverse. Stilwell recognized his predicament and, as will be noted, 
offered several solutions to those in authority, which they did not accept. 

Stilwell's plight would have been eased had the Generalissimo's joint staff- 
representing the United States, Great Britain, China, and the Netherlands— 
ever been organized. The Joint Military Council in Chungking was in existence 
when he arrived and offered the possibility of being elevated into a joint staff 
by a few changes in assignment and terminology. Organized on 31 December 
1941, the council had never grown in stature and authority because the govern- 
ments represented thereon had never acquiesced in, if indeed they were fully 
aware of, its possibilities. After the first fortnight, Magruder's membership on 
the council was overshadowed by the general knowledge that another and 
senior American officer was coming to China. China's representative, General 
Ho, could do nothing without consulting the Generalissimo, while the British 
apparently were content to let the Chinese and Americans offer a lead. The 
Netherlands' member, added later, soon represented only a government in exile 
but distinguished himself on one occasion by an outburst of frank and excellent 
advice. On 24 April he pleaded for an Allied staff and some kind of co-ordinated 
strategy. That night Magruder's chief of staff wrote in his diary that if an Allied 
plan for the Pacific existed, AMMISCA knew nothing of it and the same might 
be said for the Generalissimo. 

The council recommended the construction of the Ledo and Imphal Roads 
and the transfer of lend-lease materiel to the British (13 January), but its 
sessions usually appeared futile to Cols. Harry S. Aldrich and Edward E. 
MacMorland, who often served as U.S. representatives. 16 The key to this 
innocuous desuetude probably lies in the rapid emergence of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff as the principal agency for the direction of the Anglo-American 
war effort. The Combined Chiefs of Staff were the superiors of the British and 
American representatives on the council, who could hardly advocate views of 
which their superiors disapproved or supervise the execution of policies for 
which their superiors would not provide resources. Consequently, the Chinese 
found it more convenient to deal with higher authority in London and 
Washington. 

The Chinese Army and its Chief of Staff, General Ho, contributed more 
complexities. As has been noted, the Chinese Army was a coalition of armed 
factions and provincial levies, whose loyalties were local and personal rather 
than national, plus a hard core of about thirty divisions personally loyal to the 

16 (1) Aldrich Diary, 31 Dec 41, 2, 8, 9, 13 Jan 42. (2) MacMorland Diary, 1, 6, 13 Jan, 17 
Feb, 24 Apr 42. 



90 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Generalissimo. This situation created many delicate problems of domestic 
politics for the Generalissimo, which he was not disposed to brush aside. 
Rather, he often seemed preoccupied with them. 17 For Stilwell to persuade the 
Generalissimo to commit the Chinese Army or any major portion of it to 
offensive action was not easy. "It would be naive in the extreme to suggest that 
all [Stilwell] had to do to make China an agressive factor in the war against 
Japan was to place lend-lease arms in Chinese hands and, in consultation with 
the Generalissimo, issue orders for the attack." 18 General Ho's actions soon 
suggested to Stilwell that he saw in the arrival of an American as chief of staff 
of the Generalissimo's joint staff the introduction of a rival center of power and 
influence and a direct challenge to his own position. This rivalry, tempered by 
the requirements of the military situation, produced a state of affairs in which 
Ho and Stilwell sometimes co-operated amicably and sometimes sought each 
other's removal. 19 

AMMISCA might have acted as an energizing and unifying force but, 
though it had been given very broad powers, it never had a clear indication as 
to what the War Department wanted done with those powers. 20 As has been 
noted, the Department was attacking the China problem, but the process of 
solving it took time. 21 After 9 February, when Colonel Aldrich had a secret 
interview with the Generalissimo's military secretary, the Chinese were 
formally aware that Stilwell was coming. 22 

Early U.S. Logistical and Administrative Problems 

General Magruder's wartime directives ordered him to persuade the Chinese 
to contain as many Japanese forces as possible and to speed the flow of arms 
through Burma to China. Repeated attempts to persuade the Chinese to action 
had brought no results. 23 As for increasing the quantity of lend-lease aid mov- 
ing through Burma, AMMISCA reconnoitered alternative routes across Burma 
to India, one of its officers driving by jeep from Lashio to Calcutta across the 
8,000-foot Chin Hills on the trace of the Imphal Road. 24 AMMISCA sent its 
officers to Burma to fight the administrative ineptitude and confusion that 
slowed traffic there. One of them, Maj. James Wilson, rendered distinguished 



17 See Ch. I J pp. 32ff.| above. 

18 History or LB1, f>. *4. 

19 For an attempt at removal see Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 27 Dec 42. This memorandum 
bears Stilwell's note: "Gist to T. V. verbally." Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

20 MacMorland Diarv. 3 Jan 42. 

21 See l Ch. II, pp. 63-701 above. 

22 The urgent secrecy of this meeting was rather spoiled when a suddenly drawn portiere 
revealed four Chinese servants eavesdropping. Aldrich Diary, 9 Feb 42. 

25 Rad AMMISCA 94, Magruder to AGWAR, 11 Dec 41; Rad AMMISCA 95, Magruder to 
AG WAR, 11 Dec 41; Rad AMMISCA 140, Magruder to SW and AGWAR, 31 Dec 41; Rad 
AMMISCA 84, Gerow to Magruder, 4 Jan 42. AMMISCA Radio File, Job-11. 

24 AG (AMMISCA) 611. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



91 



service in moving lend-lease equipment north from Rangoon and died in the 
bombing of Mandalay by the Japanese. 25 

AMMISCA was authorized immediately after Pearl Harbor to induct the 
AVG into U.S. service if the Chinese agreed, but AMMISCA found the Chinese 
determined to bargain and Chennault "vigorously opposed." The Chinese 
agreed in principle but found endless reasons to delay induction. On one oc- 
casion they demanded a greatly increased allotment of lend-lease arms as a 
precondition; on another, that all U.S. air units in China be placed under Chinese 
command and that Chinese citizens be allowed to join any such unit sent there. 
When, on 1 January 1942, the question of induction had seemed settled on 
every point but one, Hollington Tong, Vice-Minister of Information, brought 
forth a fresh set of demands from the Generalissimo. 26 

The proposal for an international guerrilla force in China, mentioned in the 
Notes on China which Drum had been given and included in directives to 
AMMISCA, was quietly forgotten. No Americans, therefore, shared the heart- 
breaking experiences of those British commandos who came to China to destroy 
bridges and to harass the Japanese in the guerrilla manner so colorfully de- 
scribed in the press, only to find that the last thing the Chinese desired was to 
provoke the Japanese into reprisal raids. 27 

AMMISCA had tried to improve the Chinese Air Force and Chinese Army. 
After a careful study based on the work of earlier U.S. missions, Magruder gave 
the Generalissimo a plan to reorganize the Chinese Air Force. The General- 
issimo approved it and issued orders to place it in effect, but nothing happened. 
Colonel Sliney, Magruder's artillery specialist, instructed Chinese artillerymen 
in the use of 75-mm. pack howitzers that arrived from Burma. Colonel 
MacMorland suggested that AMMISCA personnel go to Burma as liaison 
officers with the Chinese 5 th and 6th Armies, but General Magruder demurred, 
saying no one was available. 28 

The command situation in China as of StilwelPs arrival was therefore very 
different from that contemplated when his orders were issued. There was no 
joint staff of which he might at once become chief, and circumstances sug- 
gested that there never would be one. For several reasons AMMISCA had not 
created a smoothly running organization which he might take over. The War 
Department had not made its desires clear. The reluctance of the Chinese to 
let the AVG be inducted as the 23d Pursuit Group until China had gained 

25 MacMorland Diary, 25 Jan 42. 

26 (1) MacMorland Diary, 29 Dec 41, 1, 7 Jan 42. (2) Aldrich Diary, 1 Jan 42. (3) Chennault, 
Way of a Fighter, p. 170. (4) Ltr and Notes, Aldrich to Sunderland, 18 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 
1950. (5) The proposal for integrated Sino- American units, which would pose baffling problems 
in command assuming that the language barrier could somehow be surmounted, was Madame 
Chiang's. Rad AMMISCA 140, Magruder to AG WAR, 31 Dec 41. WPD 4389-64. 

27 (1) Morris, China Changed My Mind, pp. 109-10. (2) In the AMMISCA files, Job-1 1, is a 
ballad written by a member of this unit describing his Chinese experience in blunt soldier language. 
(3) History of CBI, p. 92. 

28 MacMorland Diary, 4, 11 Mar 42. 



92 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



every possible diplomatic advantage from the situation kept the most effective 
Allied air unit in Southeast Asia from the control of the potential U.S. theater 
headquarters, AMMISCA. Operating the line of communications through 
Burma was another major task for a theater headquarters, but the Japanese cut 
that line with their capture of Rangoon. 

In India the picture was more hopeful; present there were the beginnings 
of the Tenth Air Force and of the airline from India to China (though a 
Services of Supply did not begin work until April). The real growth of the 
Tenth Air Force began with initiatives by Generals Marshall and Brett. 
Recognizing the strategic implications of the probable loss of Java to the 
Japanese, on 1 1 February Marshall suggested to Wavell that the 19th Bombard- 
ment Group (H) be sent from ABDACOM to Burma, assuring him further 
that fighter cover for Burma was en route.- 9 

Independently, General Brett had arrived at similar conclusions. He hoped 
ultimately to establish a force of U.S. heavy bombers in the general area of 
Akyab-Calcutta. The first essential was fighter cover, so, going from Burma to 
join Wavell's command in the Netherlands Indies, Brett had diverted a convoy 
from Australia to India for Burma duty. In it was the old carrier USS Langley, 
with thirty-two P^40's set up on deck and plenty of pilots and ground per- 
sonnel. A few days later Wavell overruled him and decided to send the USS 
Langley to Java after all. She was sunk en route and all that reached India 
from the convoy in the way of air power was the ground echelon of the 7th 
Bombardment Group (H), 51st Air Base Group, personnel of the 51st Pursuit 
Group, and ten P-40's. 30 Also present were seven radio teams and Detachment, 
Company B, 5 2d Signal Battalion, originally intended to provide communica- 
tions in Java. 31 

In accordance with the War Department directives of February 1942, on 5 
March, General Brereton, as Commanding General, Tenth Air Force, assumed 
command of this effort to put U.S. air power in India. General Stilwell was told 
by the War Department that the Tenth would operate offensively in China 
under his direction. In addition to the 10 surviving P^40's, 51 fighters and 12 
B-17's for the American Volunteer Group were en route and 33 more heavies 
would be allocated as soon as possible. A further increment would be 37 B-24's 
for the express mission of bombing Japan from Chinese bases, the HALPRO 
project. 32 

29 Rad, Marshall to Wavell, 11 Feb 42. AG 381 (11-27-41) Sec 2B. 

30 Rad ABDA 395, Brett to AGWAR, 17 Feb 42; Rad, Brett to AGWAR, 20 Feb 42; Rad 
ABDA 492, Brett to AGWAR, 21 Feb 42; Rad ABDA 530, Brett to Arnold, 23 Feb 42. AG 381 
(11-27^1) Sec 2B, Sec 2C. 

31 Sgts John and Ward Hawkins, History of the 835th Signal Service Battalion, pp. 1—4. Gen 
Ref Br, OCMH. 

32 (1) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II: 
I, Plans and Early Operations, January 1939 to August 1942 (Chicago, 1948), p. 484. (2) Rad WAR 
239, Marshall to Stilwell, 1 Mar 42. Item 3, Bk 1, JWS Personal File, A48-102. (See Biblio- 
graphical Note.) (3) Dispatch 308, Eisenhower to Stilwell, 21 Mar 42. Item 21, OPD Exec 10. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



93 



Organization of the airline to China was under way concurrently with 
Stilwell's first surveys of his new position. In January and February 1942 
Chinese and American authorities contemplated an airlift from Assam, India, 
to Myitkyina in north Burma, a barge line from Myitkyina to Bhamo, and a 
truck haul from Bhamo to China. Stilwell was told of the project before he left 
Washington, and on 21 March the President ordered activation of the Assam- 
Burma-China Ferry Command. General Naiden, chief of staff of the Tenth Air 
Force, surveyed the projected air route and concluded that the normal run 
should be from the Royal Air Force base at Dinjan to Myitkyina. To meet 
the complex inadequacies of the Indian transport net, Naiden also proposed 
another airline connecting the seaport of Karachi with Dinjan. To fly these 
routes, twenty-five aircraft were diverted from commercial airlines in the United 
States, and ten came from Pan American Airways' trans- African line. The latter 
began the service, arriving at Karachi on 5 April. 33 

Stilwell's First Problems 

General Stilwell's aircraft touched Indian soil at Karachi on 24 February 
1942. The next day he and his staff were in New Delhi, India's capital, to 
confer with General Headquarters (India). There he learned that only one 
Indian infantry brigade could be spared to reinforce Burma. 34 From India he 
went to Lashio in Burma where he was introduced to the Generalissimo and to 
Colonel Chennault. Chennault was now a world figure in his own right. His 
skillful and prescient training of the American Volunteer Group, the devoted 
leadership of the squadron commanders, and the skill and courage of the pilots 
and ground crew had resulted in an imposing number of Japanese aircraft shot 
down in Burma. The Japanese had been kept from closing the port of Rangoon 
by air action, and Chennault's Flying Tigers for many weeks had supplied the 
Allied public with the only good news from the Far East. Chennault and 
Stilwell spoke together at Kunming on 4 March, where Chennault agreed to 
serve under Stilwell and further consented to induction of the American 
Volunteer Group into the Army Air Forces (AAF). "A big relief," wrote 
Stilwell, who had feared Chennault might object on both points. 35 

When Stilwell arrived in China, the question of AMMISCA's command 
relation to him arose at once. The War Department solved it by superseding 
Magruder's directive and placing all AMMISCA personnel at Stilwell's disposal. 
Using AMMISCA's officers and men, together with the personnel arriving in 
the China-Burma-India area, for his United States Task Force in China, Stilwell 
integrated all into a Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, Burma and 

33 MS, History of the India-China Ferry under the Tenth Air Force. USAF Hist Div, Air 
University Library, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. 

34 The Stilwell Papers, pp. 45-47. 

35 Stilwell B&W, 4 Mar 42. 



94 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



India. This headquarters was established at Chungking on 4 March 1942. 
Significant of the approach General Marshall had desired, the new title 
excluded the word theater.^ 6 

The first conference between Stilwell, the Generalissimo, and Madame 
Chiang was held on 6 March 1942 in Chungking. Stilwell delivered the Presi- 
dent's oral message, 37 explained the orders under which he was to operate, and 
described the help en route to China. The Generalissimo was concerned about 
command in Burma and about Sino-British relations. His comment on 
StilwelPs status was: "I told those Army commanders [in Burma] not to take 
orders from anybody but you and to wait until you came." 38 That was good 
news to Stilwell, for it seemed a clear indication that Stilwell would command 
the Chinese troops in Burma. The Generalissimo showed no hesitation over 
the proposed joint staff which Stilwell was to lead and assured him it would 
be set up the next day. The one problem seemed to be Sino-British relations, 
for the Generalissimo strongly objected to British command in Burma. 39 

When the Chinese staff proposals came on the 9th, they were a subtle 
repudiation of the Soong-Stimson agreements of January. The understanding 
reached by the two governments through Soong and Stimson had been that 
Stilwell would be chief of staff of the combined Sino-British-American forces 
in the China Theater, an Allied chief of staff under a Supreme Allied Com- 
mander. The Chinese proposed to make Stilwell chief of staff of the Allied {i.e., 
Anglo-American) forces only, which were then the American and British 
military missions, together with Stil well's task force in China— perhaps 300 
men and nothing more. By writing in one of his copybooks, "At least Chiang 
Kai-shek is sticking to one part of the agreement [command]," Stilwell 
implied his awareness that the Chinese had already defaulted on the other, a 
joint staff for China Theater. 40 However, that same night, 9 March, the 
Generalissimo talked with Stilwell until midnight and said he was radioing 
Washington that Stilwell should command both British and Chinese in 
Burma. 41 

Since the Generalissimo had earlier promised to place the Chinese 5 th and 
6th Armies under British command, AMMISCA personnel were dismayed 

36 (1) Rad AMMISCA 355, AG WAR to AMMISCA, 11 Mar 42. AG 400.3295. (2) Stilwell's 
task force staff formed the nucleus of Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, Burma and 
India. Nevertheless, staff assignments in the new headquarters on 15 March 1942 did not suggest 
that this staff would channel Stilwell's orders to a theater-wide organization. At this time most of 
the personnel in Stilwell's task force were not in Chungking. They were either waiting assignments 
in India for duty in Burma or were en route to the Far East. SO 1, Hq, American Army Forces, 
CBI, 4 Mar 42; SO 2, Hq, American Army Forces, CBI, 15 Mar 42. (3) MacMorland Diary, 20 
Mar 42. __ 

37 Ch. II, lp. 78| above. 

38 Stilwelf Diary, 6 Mar 42. Gen. Shang Chen, Director of the Foreign Affairs Bureau, National 
Military Council, told Stilwell that he was now "No. 2 in China.'' 

39 The Stilwell Papers, pp. 50-51. 

40 (1) Stilwell B&W, 9 Mar 42. (2) Stilwell Diary, 9 Mar 42. The diary entry is: "Shang 
came in with the diagrams for the staff. Just stooge stuff." (3) The Stilivell Papers, p. 55. 

41 (1) Stilwell Diary, 9 Mar 42. (2) Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 
9 Mar 42. Folder 2, Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



95 



when they learned that the Generalissimo now objected to British command 
in Burma- He announced that he distrusted them after their recent setbacks, 
while Madame Chiang was violently anti-British in talking to MacMorland, 
AMMISCA*s chief of staff. 4 * 

The Chinese radioed Washington in strong terms that Stilwcll should lead 
in Burma. They seemed quite serious in their insistence, telling Stilwell that 
if the British tried to give orders, the Chinese would withdraw from Burma. 43 
Certainly this was consistent with their earliest utterances; on 16 December 
1941, General Ho told the British military attache that if the Chinese were to 
be effective in Burma, they would have to operate independently in their own 
assigned sector. 44 In replying on 10 March, the President temporized, saying 
he hoped that Stilwell would be allowed to work out the very difficult and 
involved command problem on the spot without the need of placing it formally 
before the British. The Generalissimo read the President's reply, then turned 
to Magruder and MacMorland, who delivered the message on 13 March, and 
said that there must be unified command in Burma, either under the Chinese 
or the British, He preferred Stilwell, because he did not trust the British in the 
light of their Far Eastern record. 45 

The British were not pleased with Stilwell's presence in Burma, because 
their Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander (now commanding Burma Army) 
had expected to command the Chinese, and because Stilwell had neither a staff 
nor knowledge of the local situation. Churchill added that the British had pre- 
pared a supply service for the Chinese, together with a liaison net down to the 
division level. He suggested to the President that Stilwell be under Alexander's 
command. 46 The President and Marshall answered much as they had to the 
Generalissimo. They assured Churchill that Stilwell wanted to solve the com- 
mand problem by co-operating with Alexander until the Chinese came into 
line. They described Stilwell as immensely resourceful and capable, informed 
on Chinese matters, and devoid of thoughts of personal aggrandizement. 
Though ordered by the Generalissimo to take no orders from the British, he 
could co-operate if the Generalissimo was pleased with the supply arrange- 
ments that the British made for his troops. The President and Chief of Staff 

The Stilwell Papers, p. 53 (2) MacMorland Diary, 9 Mar 42. 

4i (l) Rad, Chiang Kai-sek to Soone, for Roosevelt, 10 Mar 42. Item 19 A, OPD Exec 10. (2) 
Rad AMMISCA 349, Stilwell to AGWAR, 11 Mar 42; Rad AMMI5CA 342, AG WAR to 
AMMISCA, 1 Apr 42. AMMISCA Radio File, job-11. 

^ ( 1 } Memo, Confs with Generalissimo, 8, 15 Dec 41; Memo, Conf with Chines* Minister of 
War, Gen Ho, MacMorland, recorder, 10 Dec 4 L AMMISCA Folder 7. (2) MacMorland Diary, 15 
Dec 41, 

*'0) Memo, Eisenhower for Marshall, 11 Mar 42. Item 19 A, OPD Exec 10. When Eisenhower 
gave the draft memorandum to the President he explained that it was just a temporizing measure. 
Roosevelt included this passage in his message: 'I realise the above sounds like temporizing . . . ." 
(2) Memo, Magruder for Stilwell, 13 Mar 42, sub: Views of Generalissimo on Comd in Burma, 
SNF-56. This memorandum repeats the Generalissimo's proclaimed desire that Stilwell command 
all Allied forces in Burma. 

46 Rad, Churchill to Roosevelt, 17 Mar 42. ABC 311-5 (1-30-42), A48-224. 



96 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



added the very pointed comment that a Chinese commander might make 
things impossible for Alexander. 47 

Meanwhile, in Chungking Stilwell was trying to solve the command prob- 
lem and free himself of the tactical and personnel restrictions imposed by the 
Generalissimo. For a short-term solution of the Sino-British impasse Stilwell 
favored co-operation, and for the long run he had no objections to serving 
under Alexander; indeed, when on one occasion a translator's error made it 
appear for a while that, at StilwelPs urging, the Chinese had accepted British 
command, he wrote in his diary: "Suddenly the sun breaks through." 48 
Stilwell worked earnestly to smooth over the situation, for two divisions of the 
5 th Army were being held at the Burmese border until the command and sup- 
ply questions were settled to the Generalissimo's satisfaction. Stilwell knew 
that the Chinese reinforcements were needed in Burma and had suggested 
sending in still another Chinese army. He was satisfied with British handling 
of the supply question, and Alexander and he had agreed to handle the com- 
mand question for the present by close co-operation. 49 On 27 March, after 
Alexander visited Chungking and saw the Generalissimo, the Chinese reversed 
themselves again on the command question. Madame Chiang sent a casual 
little note to Stilwell, saying, "At your suggestion, pending further develop- 
ments from Washington, the High Command of Burma will rest in General 
Alexander's hands. . . ." 50 The concession proved meaningless, and in his 
report on the campaign Alexander called his command nominal. 51 

StilwelPs own command position was settled on 11 March after the Chinese 
gave many hints, which Stilwell recorded with care: 

Chinese fa tzu [method]— they don't say to me— "you will command the 5th and 6th 
Armies under such and such conditions." Instead, it sort of slips out after a lot of talk. Of 
course, I couldn't ask outright. "I told them to take orders from the British until you get 
there"; "when you go down to Burma"; "Gen. Shang Chen will introduce you"; "I don't 
ask for a Chinese commander; I just want them to include the British in your command." 52 
When the Generalissimo finally gave the word he was quite clear: 

I wish to inform you that this morning I issued orders to place the 5th and 6th armies 
under your command. . . . General Ling Wen-wei has his headquarters at Lashio, and in 
the rear you can use his. I have ordered him to give you all assistance, and you can use his 
staff officers, and in the rear he can act as your chief of staff. Generals Ling, Tu, and Kan 
(commanders-in-chief of the 5th and 6th army \}ic\) have been ordered to take orders from 
you absolutely. ... 53 

47 Memo, Marshall for Field Marshal Sir John Dill, JSM, 19 Mar 42. Item 62, OPD Exec 10. 
Marshall's description of Stilwell was: "an immensely capable and remarkably resourceful indi- 
vidual, but he is not in any degree a 'pusher' for himself and he possibly understands more of how 
to do business with the Chinese, particularly in regard to military matters, than any other individual 
in this country." 

48 Stilwell Diary, 11 Mar 42. (2) Stilwell B&W, 11 Mar 42. 

49 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. IV, pp. 9-10. 

50 Handwritten Ltr, Mayling Soong Chiang (Mme. Chiang) to Stilwell, 27 Mar 42. Stilwell 
Documents, Hoover Library. 

51 Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 19, 22. 

52 Stilwell B&W, 10 Mar 42. 

53 (1) Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 11 Mar 42. Stilwell Docu- 
ments, Hoover Library. (2) Stilwell B&W, 11 Mar 42. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



97 



The restrictions which the Generalissimo now proceeded to place upon 
Stilwell's use of his new command were hard on an aggressive soldier. Stilwell 
tried to have them lifted and thought he succeeded, only to conclude in time 
that the Chinese concessions on strategy as on command were purely formal. 
In the initial conference of 6 March the Generalissimo stated accurately that 
there was no plan for the campaign in Burma. In succeeding talks he tried to 
make his views clear to Stilwell. These discussions revealed the General- 
issimo's belief that his 5th and 6th Armies were the best he had, that they 
should not attack the Japanese, but that, if the Japanese attacked them and 
were repulsed, then they might attack. He expressed extreme distrust of the 
British. More specifically, the Generalissimo stated: "My idea ultimately is to 
hold a line east and west through Thazi if the Chinese troops are to defend 
Mandalay. In that case, should the British troops at Prome retreat, then we 
hold a slanting line with Mandalay as the pivot point in order to protect 
Myitkyina and Lashio, our railway and highways in order to keep communica- 
tions between China and India uninterrupted." 54 A day later he remarked, 
"As long as the British hold Prome, we hold Toungoo." 55 

When it came to tactics, the Generalissimo severely restricted Stilwell. 
The latter was to put his forces in a column of divisions about fifty miles apart. 
The 200th Division of the 5 th Army was to stay at Toungoo as long as the 
British held Prome. The 6th Army was to hold fast in the Shan States. The 
remaining two divisions of the 5th Army were to enter Burma when supplies 
were satisfactorily arranged and then advance as far as Mandalay. Caution and 
the defensive were enjoined over and over again though Stilwell suggested 
an offensive to retake Rangoon. 56 

Three things fitted together in Stilwell's mind: the Generalissimo's injunc- 
tion to hold north Burma in order to cover the route to India; the approach 
of the monsoon rains which would probably begin about 15 May; and the 
terrain of Burma from Mandalay and above, with a steep escarpment rising 
dramatically from the plain just east of Mandalay. Stilwell's intentions for the 
campaign in Burma were to work toward the recapture of Rangoon because 
he thought that the Japanese might be weak and that boldness might pay big 
dividends. If this plan failed then the Chinese would fall back toward the north 
and, from positions on the high ground east of Mandalay, offer a flanking 
threat to any Japanese drive northward. The monsoon rains were expected to 
complicate the Japanese task enormously. 57 

54 Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 9 Mar 42. Stilwell Documents, 
Hoover Library. 

" Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 10 Mar 42. Stilwell Documents, 
Hoover Library. 

56 (1) Ibid. (2) Min, Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 9 Mar 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover 
Library. 

57 (1) Interv with Col Frank Dorn, 2 Oct 47, at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. Interview Folder, Gen 
Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Min, Confs, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 9, 10 Mar 42. Stilwell Documents, 
Hoover Library. (3) Handwritten Paper by Stilwell, sub: General Plan. SNF— 56. 



98 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Stil well's larger plans were: 

General Plan: (1) Complete communications with India, and operate against the Japs 
at Rangoon. Whether or not we use the port, it must be denied to the Japs for use as a base. 
Reinforce the 5th and 6th Chun [armies], first with the 71st. Move other units into the 
Kunming area, where they can train, as a preliminary to moving them into Burma. After 
making Rangoon safe, concentrate at Kunming-Kweiyang for an offensive to Hanoi (I), 
or to clear the Hankow area (2). 

(I) The Hanoi plan would give us a base for aviation to work on the Jap communica- 
tions, but it would not decide anything. The Japs would by-pass it. Hankow would have 
to be taken, anyway. (2) Clearing the Hankow area would put us within striking distance 
of Japan. The Japs would be backed up to Nanking and Suchow, and a push north through 
Kaircng would force the evacuation of South Shansi and the Chengchow area. By this time 
aviation should be available to support all ground operations. 

Hankow could be isolated by a holding attack in West Hupeh and a double envelop- 
ment—through Sinyang and north of the Tai Pieh Shan and from the Changsha-Hengyang 
area on Nanchang and Kiukiang. 

The 30 divisions to be equipped and armed should be designated at once [in the 9 March 
conference, the Generalissimo said it would be easy to designate them when the arrival date 
of the lend-lease was known] and brought to the Kweiyang-Kunming area for training 
and as a preliminary concentration for possible use in Siam and Indo-China. Thought 
should be given to the use of guerrillas there; it would be helpful to have them established 
well inside the borders before troops move in. They should take the attitude that the 
Chinese are liberating the natives and establish friendly relations if possible. 

Everywhere in occupied China, regular forces and guerrillas should increase their activity, 
and at the very least, constantly harass the Japs and keep them from mutual support. The 
weak points will be disclosed and we will know what, if any, air strength can be pushed in 
to help them. 

Work on all roads should be pushed. Sooner or later they will be needed for heavy motor 
traffic. Work should be pushed on all airfields that need it. 

A general plan for location of dumps, etc., should be prepared, based on a basic plan for 
future operations. 58 

Immediately after the Generalissimo stated on 11 March that Stilwell 
would command in Burma, Stilwell left to meet with his new subordinates, 
Lt. Gen. Tu Yu-ming (5th Army), Lt. Gen. Kan Li-chu (6th Army), and Lt. 
Gen. Lin Wei (the Ling Wen-wei of the conference minutes, Chinese General 
Staff Mission). They all agreed with Stilwell that the way to defend north 
Burma was to stand at Toungoo; Lin Wei and Tu agreed to start the two 
remaining divisions of the 5 th Army to Burma. Then Stilwell went back to 
Chungking to see if the rest of the Army hierarchy would join him in asking 
the Generalissimo's consent to StilwelPs orders for a concentration around 
Toungoo. Stilwell felt optimistic; Tu and Kan made a good impression on him 
and he felt the Chinese accepted him. 59 The War Department was told that 
there were restrictions on him but that he hoped to do something if the Jap- 
anese were not reinforced. 60 

58 Paper cite d n. 57 (3)1 

59 The Stilwell Pupers, pp. 62-64. 

60 (1) Rad AMMISCA 377, Stilwell to AGWAR, 18 Mar 42; Rad AMMISCA 379, Stilwell 
to AGWAR, 19 Mar 42. AG 381 (12-19-41). 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



99 



Under Stil well's persuading, the Generalissimo somewhat relaxed his 
restrictions on tactics. In an emergency the 22d Division, 5th Army, might 
help the 200th Division, 5th Army, at Toungoo, but the 96th Division, 5th 
Army, was to stay in Mandalay. The attitude was to be strictly defensive, and 
General Alexander was to be helped only in an emergency. Three more divi- 
sions (66th Army) were promised, one of them to Mandalay, two to stay on 
the border. The Generalissimo observed that three Chinese divisions were 
needed to match one Japanese division and odds of five to one for an attack. 61 

Darkening Prospects for Burma's Defenders 

Far to the south of Chungking, Mandalay, and Toungoo, a series of naval 
disasters in the Indian Ocean left Burma's defenders without British or Amer- 
ican reinforcements in the closing days of the campaign because they aroused 
the gravest apprehensions for the safety of India. Even before action was fairly 
joined in the Far East, the loss or disabling in November-December of 4 
Royal Navy battleships, 1 battle cruiser, and 1 aircraft carrier severely handi- 
capped the Royal Navy. In March 1942 the Admiralty was able to spare for 
operations in the Indian Ocean 5 old battleships, 3 carriers, 14 cruisers, and 16 
destroyers. Their commander, Admiral James Somerville, R.N., expected the 
Japanese to appear with a few carriers supported by three of the ubiquitous 
Kongo-class battle cruisers, a force he could meet with reasonable chance of 
success. When the Japanese were sighted, Somerville decided to try for a night 
air strike, like that which had been so successful at Taranto. In the maneuver- 
ings preliminary to that attempt, he lost two heavy cruisers, a destroyer, and an 
auxiliary cruiser to the Japanese carrier aircraft, which also raided Ceylon. 
There was a large-scale flight of refugees from Ceylon, and essential services 
were dislocated. 62 

Somerville missed his attempt at a night contact and, as he now believed 
the Japanese carrier force was present in strength, he did not risk a daylight 
encounter but withdrew his carrier division plus the Wdrspite to Bombay and 
sent the battleships to Kilindini on the African coast, thus acknowledging that 
for the time at least Japan controlled the Bay of Bengal. Sweeping the bay, the 
Japanese sank the old light carrier H.M.S. Hermes, a destroyer, and a corvette. 
Then they sank 100,000 tons of merchant shipping, and withdrew to the east 
on the long voyage that ended at Midway. Somerville was justified in his 
apprehensions; present were six Japanese carriers plus four Kongo's with 

61 Stilwell Diary, 19 Mar 42. 

62 (1) Churchill, Secret Session Speeches, pp. 57-58, 74-75. (2) Lt. Col. Frank Owen, The 
Campaign in Burma (London, 1946), pp. 167-72. (3) Admiral Sir William James, The British 
Nap/es in the Second World War (New York, London, 1946), pp. 149-51. (4) Ltr, CinC, Colombo, 
to CinC, India, information copy to SEAC, 22 Nov 43. SEAC War Diary, A46-217. (See Biblio- 
graphical Note. ) ( 5 ) Ltr cited |fl. 1U(2J.| 



100 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



cruisers and destroyers. It was the Japanese naval air arm in the days of its 
greatest power. 63 

These successes suggested that Japan and Germany might be on the way 
to linking their forces in the Middle East, leading inevitably to the loss of 
India and China, a most alarming prospect to American leadership. Faced with 
the grave concern that the British Chiefs of Staff felt for India, General 
Marshall stated that American air power in India 64 would support General 
Wavell. There were no AAF aircraft available to reinforce India, but with 
British consent a considerable number of U.S. aircraft earmarked for the RAF 
were released to American use and sent to India. To the Prime Minister's 
appeal for naval aid Roosevelt replied that a major Anglo-American concentra- 
tion off Ceylon was not as workable a solution as the replacement of the Royal 
Navy's Home Fleet units by American ships, thus releasing British craft for 
service in a homogeneous British Eastern Fleet. This was speedily done, and 
the British accelerated long-standing arrangements for the occupation of 
Madagascar to prevent an expected Japanese landing. Operations began on 5 
May and firmly established Allied power on that island, which lay athwart 
the principal Allied line of communications to the Middle East. 65 

Fears for India's safety had their effect on the defense of Burma. In spring 
1942 India had 984,514 men under arms. Eight brigades (2 divisions) were 
lost in Malaya; 5 Indian brigades were in Burma. Six divisions were in the 
Middle East. That left 4 in India, 1 in Ceylon— all of them new with far less 
training than the units lost in Malaya. Establishments in India had been drawn 
on heavily to equip the Middle East and, to a lesser degree, Malaya. With the 
needs of defense against the turbulent tribes of the Northwest Frontier 
Province, this left one brigade which was marching in overland when the end 
came. On 7 March General Wavell told the British Chiefs of Staff his "grave 
doubts" of his ability to hold Burma and urged a concentration in northeast 
India. The War Cabinet ruled that Ceylon should receive reinforcements rather 
than northeast India, so air and land reinforcements from India went to Ceylon 
rather than to Burma. Within India, Madras, Bengal, and Orissa had to be 
garrisoned against Japanese attacks, and in mid-March the first two were held 

63 U SSBS. Cam baims of the Pacific War, pp. 31, 36. 

64 Se< |Ch. Ill above. 

65 ( 1 ) Memo, Marshall for Roosevelt, 18 Mar 42. Attached to the original, according to a note 
at the bottom, were a memorandum from roving Ambassador William C. Bullitt, Proposal for 
Establishment of U.S. Air Units in Cairo, and a memorandum from the President to Marshall. 
AG 381 (2-24-42) Sec 2. (2) Eisenhower called defense of the India— Middle East area the most 
important problem demanding immediate solution by the CCS. Memo, Eisenhower for Marshall, 
Apr 42, sub: Strategic Conceptions and Their Application to Southwest Pacific. ABC 381 
(9-2S-41) Sec 1, A48-224. (3) The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (New York, 1948), Vol. II, p. 1,482. 
(4) DO (42), 10th Mtg, Minutes of Meeting Held on Tuesday, 14th April (42), at 10:00 P.M. 
WDCSA 381, File I, A46-523. (5) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 523-38. (6) Samuel E. 
Morison, The Rising Sun in the Pacific: 1931-April 1942 (Boston, 1948), p. 167. (7) Rad, 
Churchill to Roosevelt, 7 Feb 42. Bk VI, Sec 3, Hopkins Papers. (8) Rad 134, Roosevelt to 
Churchill. Hopkins Papers. (9) Rad, Roosevelt to Hopkins, for Churchill, 14 Apr 43. Bk VII, 
Sec 1, Hopkins Papers. (10) Rad 320, Maj Gen Joseph T. McNarney to Marshall, 14 Apr 42. 
WDCSA 381 (Middle East), A46-5 23. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



101 



by two Indian divisions. The British 70th Division (less one brigade) was in 
Orissa and was expected to be reinforced in the summer by the British 5th 
Division and two Indian armored brigades. Ceylon was garrisoned by the 16th 
and 17th Australian Brigade Groups, the 34th Indian Division, and the 16th 
Brigade Group, 70th Division, supported by 3 fighter squadrons, 1 light 
bomber squadron, and 1 torpedo squadron. Surveying the Indian strategic 
picture in the House of Commons, Churchill remarked that General Wavell 
"is not therefore at present in a position to denude himself to any large extent 
and he must not cast away his resources." 66 With naval control of the Bay of 
Bengal lost to the Japanese, with grave concern felt that the Japanese might 
bypass Burma and land on the Bengal coast, other considerations had to yield. 
That Burma was written off is implied by Churchill's admission on 18 April 
that he did not know of anything more to be done for Alexander. 67 

German naval records reveal that on several occasions the Japanese gave 
their allies reason to think they were contemplating a move toward the Suez 
Canal. In conversations between German and Japanese officers in the spring 
of 1942, India was rarely mentioned. On one occasion the Japanese told the 
Germans they planned to take Madagascar, and on another asked for informa- 
tion on the beaches of Ceylon. On 19 April the Japanese Foreign Minister 
told the German Ambassador that Japanese actions would eventually extend 
to the western part of the Indian Ocean. Unhappily for those members of the 
Operations Division of the German Naval Staff who favored operations in the 
Mediterranean toward the Middle East, on 15 May the Japanese finally told the 
German Naval Staff that their next major effort would be made east, toward 
Hawaii and Midway, rather than west toward Suez. On the German side there 
were differences of opinion about a drive toward Suez and the naval operations 
staff could never persuade higher authority to give its views the necessary sup- 
port that might have led to serious discussions with the Japanese. Axis unity 
was not what it appeared to be, for probably as early as January 1942 Japanese 
Imperial General Headquarters had decided to make the next major effort in the 
Pacific. 68 

66 (1) Field Marshal Viscount Wavell, "Operations in Eastern Theatre, Based on India, from 
March 1942 to December 31, 1942," Supplement to The London Gazette, September 18, 1946. (2) 
Churchill, Secret Session Speeches, pp. 68—70. (3) Because of the dissolution of ABDACOM, Burma 
was back under General Headquarters (India). Rads DBA 17; TOO 1927Q/17; DBA 20; 
ABDACOM 01623, 19 Feb 42; DBA 21; ABDACOM 02397, 25 Feb 42. Earliest Messages 
Folder, A48-179- (4) Rad New Delhi 47, 2 Apr 42. Item 1461, Folder 9, A47-136. (5) Hist 
Sec (India), India at War, 1939-1943, pp. 10, 11, 27, 34, 39, 44-45, 59, 64, 137. Gen Ref Br, 
OCMH. (6) Ltr (copy 1787/H), Brig W. E. H. Condon, Combined Inter-services Hist Sec 
(India), to Col the Nawabzada Mohammed Sher Ali Khan, Indian Embassy, Washington, 1 Feb 
47, sub: Hist Information on Indian Army. HIS 330.14 CBI 1947. 

67 Rad, Churchill to Roosevelt, 18 Apr 42. ABC 381, Burma (3-10-42), A48-224. 

68 (1) Office of Naval Intelligence, War Diary of the German Naval Staff, Operations Division. 
Pt. A, Vol. 28, entries of 19, 21, 22 Dec 41; Pt. A, Vol. 29, p. 117, entry of 13 Jan 42; Pt. A, Vol. 
30, p. 175, entry of 17 Feb 42, p. 218, entry of 20 Feb 42, p. 221, entry of 21 Feb 42, p. 172, entry 
of 17 Feb 42, p. 240, entry of 23 Feb 42; Pt. A, Vol. 32, p. 70, entry of 3 Apr 42; Pt. A, Vol. 33, 
p. 24, entry of 2 May 42, p. 120, entry of 9 May 42, p. 195, entry of 15 May 42. (2) Japanese 
Study 72, History of the Army Section, Imperial General Headquarters. 



102 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Whatever the Japanese intended to do in the Pacific, they were far from 
idle in Burma. Exploiting the advantages of sea power to the utmost, they 
were reinforcing faster than the Allies. Originally they had planned to take 
Burma with four regiments, but the fear of heavy Chinese reinforcements made 
added strength seem desirable, while the fall of Singapore on 15 February made 
it available. The 18th and 36th Divisions (less the 146th Regiment of the 36th), 
the 213th Regiment of the 33d Division, plus the 1st and 14th Tank Regiments, 
arrived at Rangoon by sea during March and April. The 18th and 36th went to 
the Sittang valley, while the 213th rejoined its division. 69 



1 BURMA CORPS 70 
(Lt. Gen. William J. Slim) 
7 th Armored Brigade Group 

1st Burma Division (Maj. Gen. J. Bruce 
Scott) : 1st Burma Brigade, 2d Burma Bri- 
gade, and 13th Indian Infantry Brigade 

17th Indian Division (Maj. Gen. David 
Cowan) : 16th, 48th, and 63d Indian Infan- 
try Brigades 

CHINESE EXPEDITIONARY ARMY 
IN BURMA 71 

(Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell) 

5th Army (Lt. Gen. Tu Yu-ming): 22d, 96th, 
and 200th Divisions 

6th Army (Lt. Gen. Kan Li-chu) : 49th,Tem- 
porary-55th, and 93d Divisions 

66th Army (Lt. Gen. Chang Chen): 28th, 
29th, and 38th Divisions 



JAPANESE 13TH ARMY 
(Lt. Gen. Shojiro lido) 

33d Division (Lt. Gen. Genzo Yanagida) 

213 th Regiment 
214th Regiment 
213th Regiment 

18th Division (Lt. Gen. Renya Mutaguchi) 

33 th Regiment 
36th Regiment 
114th Regiment 

33th Division (Lt. Gen. Yutaka Takeuchi) 

1 12th Regiment 
143d Regiment 

36th Division (Lt. Gen. Sukezo Matsuyama) 
113 th Regiment 

146th Regiment (Arrived May 1942) 
148th Regiment 



6 *(1) SEATIC Bulls 244, 245. MID Library. (2) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. 

70 Following the Battle of the Sittang Bridge, 23 February, 46th Indian Infantry Brigade was 
broken up to provide replacements. During the campaign, the Army in Burma had a total of 30 
battalions, Burmese, Indian, and British. These were attached to and detached from brigades as the 
tactical and administrative situation required. Only those battalions of the Burma Rifles which 
engaged in combat are included in this total. Present in Burma were a number of paramilitary 
formations such as the 6 battalions of the Burma Frontier Force, the 5 battalions of the Burma 
Auxiliary Force, and 5 100-man columns of mounted infantry. These five columns gave good 
service, but the Burma Frontier Force and Burma Auxiliary Force did not have such capabilities as 
would justify listing them in an order of battle. There were also four more battalions of Burma 
Rifles (11th, 12th, 13th, 14th) of which the first two were employed chiefly on interior guard 
duty and the latter two proved unreliable and never entered combat. 

71 The numbered designations of the three regiments in a Chinese division can be determined 
by multiplying the division's designation by three. The product is the number of the third regi- 
ment. Thus, the regiments of the 2 2d Division are 64th, 65th, and 66th. 

Information on Burmese, Chinese, and Japanese forces from: 

(1) Foucar. (2) Japanese Study 88. (3) SEATIC Bulls 244, 245. MID Library. (4) The 
Campaign in Burma. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



103 



Burma's defenders, badly handicapped throughout the six-month cam- 
paign by utterly inadequate information on the enemy, did not know that the 
Japanese strength had almost doubled. The G-2 journal of StilwelPs head- 
quarters quoted a British report that forty Japanese transports landed troops at 
Rangoon on 12 April. The official theater history of the campaign, prepared 
after its close, put the 33d and 55th Divisions in Burma and the 17 th and 18th 
in northern Thailand as of March-April 1942. Actually, northern Thailand was 
empty of Japanese, while there were four divisions in Burma proper, three of 
them in the Sittang valley. 72 

The Japanese headquarters, 15th Army, planned to complete the campaign 
by late May by surrounding and annihilating the British and Chinese force in 
the vicinity of Mandalay. The 33d Division would drive north up the Irrawaddy 
valley through Prome and Yenangyaung; the 55th, up the Rangoon-Mandalay 
Road through Meiktila; the 56th, wide to the east through Taunggyi and then 
northward. The 18th would be in reserve in the Sittang valley. 73 

The Chinese Expeditionary Force 

The Chinese divisions entering Burma, though with one exception fairly 
representative of the better Nationalist divisions, still had weaknesses that 
put heavy burdens on the skill of their leaders and the devotion of their troops. 
They varied greatly in size. The 200th Division began with about 8,500 men. 
It was fully motorized and had a small armored component. The other two 
divisions of the 5th Army, the 96th and 22d, had about 6,000 men each. The 
6th Army divisions averaged 5,700 in strength. These were not all combat 
troops by any means; each division included coolie labor units for transport 
and replacements. 74 

The 5th Army originally had twelve 75-mm. pieces, some of which were 
lend-lease howitzers. By 5 April, twenty-four lend-lease 75-mm. howitzers had 
been added to that modest store. A motorized battalion of 105-mm. howitzers 
was present during the campaign. Medical supplies were almost nil, and the 
Chinese medical organization was largely on paper. Very valuable aid was 
given by Dr. Gordon Seagrave, an American medical missionary later famous 
as the Burma Surgeon, his few doctors, American and British ambulance 

72 (1) MA Rpt IG 6910, in Opns Jour, Burma, 16 Mar-2 May 42, Col Frank N. Roberts, G-2, 
p. 18. MID Library. This report contains daily G— 2 information of Stilwell's headquarters. (2) 
Notes by Colonel Roberts, as collated by Capt. John LeR. Christian. MIS Folder, Burma Cam- 
paign, MID Library. 

7i Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. 

74 (1) Memo, sub: Chinese Organization. MIS Folder, Burma Campaign, MID Library. (2) 
Memo, Col Rufus S. Bratton, Chief, Int Gp, WDGS, for Chief, Strategy Sec, OPD, sub: The 
Recent Campaign in Burma. MID Library. (3) Memo of Conf with Minister of War, 23 Dec 41, 
AMMISCA Folder 7. (4) Foucar, pp. 133, 164. (5) Aldrich Diary, 11 Jan 42. (6) The Campaign 
in Burma, p. 25. (7) Rad AMMISCA 256, Magruder to AG WAR, 13 Feb 42. AG 400.3295 
(4_14_41) Sec 1A. 



104 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



drivers, Burmese nurses, and British medical units supplied by Alexander from 
his own meager resources. Commissioned as a major in the Medical Corps, 
Seagrave was aided by Capt. John H. Grindley, and Capt. Donald M. O'Hara. 
Though a dental surgeon, Captain O'Hara tirelessly assisted in the treatment 
of Chinese wounded. The bulk of medical supplies came from the American 
Red Cross stocks at Lashio. 7 * 

Logistics was a source of concern, though the supply and maintenance of 
the Chinese were assumed by the British. Southward movement of Chinese 
troops and supplies, on the Chinese side, was the responsibility of that same 
General Yu Fei-peng with whom Colonel Twitty had attempted to deal. Yu 
was also charged with moving Chinese Ministries' and China Defense Sup- 
plies' stocks to China. The opportunities of commercial profit from transport- 
ing rice, gasoline, and consumer goods to China were enormous, and many 
Americans who dealt with Yu believed he was diverting trucks and fuel from 
military movements to take the fullest advantage of these commercial 
opportunities. 76 

Officials of the Government of Burma and Army in Burma headquarters 
were well aware of this and resolved that their resources should not be used 
by the Chinese to compensate for, or to expedite, Yu's transactions. Conse- 
quently, even legitimate Chinese requests for supplies and trucks were met 
with suspicion. These bickerings tended to distract attention from the real 
needs of the front. Nor was the Government of Burma helpful. All Chinese 
troops moving to the Sittang and Irrawaddy fronts had to pass through 
Mandalay, and the Government of Burma ruled that only one Chinese division 
at a time could be in that city. Therefore, each division in turn had to clear 
Mandalay completely before the next entered. Concentration was hampered by 
this and, because the 38th Division was several weeks in clearing the Mandalay 
area, the final collapse found the other two divisions of the 66th Army hope- 
lessly strung out along the road from China. 

The Burma Railways were poorly managed by the Government of Burma, 
and they were not at their best under Japanese bombing. They were not 
militarized until late in the campaign. Efforts to stiffen their personnel— many 
of whom deserted their posts— with veteran Chinese railway men, as requested 
by the British military attache in China, were temporarily defeated by the rail- 
way management with the statement that nothing was known in Burma of 
such arrangements. Many of the Americans concluded that the Government of 

75 (1) Foucar, App. (2) Memo cited |n. 74(1 )| (3) The Campaign in Burma, p. 24. 
(4) First Burma Campaign, a diary of the campaign Kept by Col. Willard G. Wyman, 5 April 
1942. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (5) Ltr, Boatner to authors, 4 Apr 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. (6) 
Captain O'Hara's service was rendered under a peculiar physiological difficulty— he was allergic 
to rice. Ltr, Lt Col Felix Nowakowski, Records Administration Center, St. Louis, Mo., to Sunder- 
land, 13 Feb 50. HIS 3*0 14 CRT 1950. 

76 (1) See Ch. II, pp. 57-60, above. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 12-13. (3) Ltr, Boatner 
to Chief, HD SSUSA! M Nov 4?. HIS 330.14 CBI 1947. (4) Ltr, Boatner to Stilwell, 13 May 42, 
sub: Anglo-Chinese Relations at Lashio. SNF— 21. Boatner, then a lieutenant colonel, commanded 
Stilwell's rear echelon at Lashio. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



105 



Burma would not recognize the existence of an emergency but adhered to the 
leisurely, settled routines of peace, regardless of consequences. 77 

The command technique Stilwell used in Burma is revealed by passages 
in his writings, in addition to the procedures he followed. To help him com- 
mand the 5 th and 6th Armies through Chinese channels Stilwell used a per- 
sonal staff and a liaison system. This staff, plus senior Chinese officers, aided 
him in preparing plans, staff studies, and orders. Orders went to the Chinese 
General Staff Mission to Burma, which translated them into Chinese and ar- 
ranged them in the accepted form. The General Staff Mission passed the orders 
through Chinese channels to the Army commanders concerned. StilwelPs 
American liaison officers informed him of the execution of the orders in the 
field. Stilwell expected the main burden of command to be borne by the 
Chinese themselves. Their commanders were men of long experience in fight- 
ing the Japanese; the troops, though lightly equipped, were many and were 
veterans. Stilwell could not be on every front and expected the Chinese 
commanders to show a degree of initiative. 78 

The American personal staff and liaison system had its headquarters at 
Maymyo. Brig. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn was chief of staff; Lt. Col. Frank N. 
Roberts, G-2; Col. Frederick McCabe, G-3; Col. Benjamin G. Ferris, G-4. 
Stilwell's aide was Lt. Col. Frank Dorn. The forward command post, under 
Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, assisted by Lt. Col. Willard G. Wyman, was 
initially near General Tu's headquarters. General Sibert doubled as liaison 
officer with Tu's 5th Army and as tactical adviser to the Chinese. Colonel Sliney 
was artillery adviser to the 5 th Army. Colonel McCabe was also liaison officer 
with the Chinese 6th Army, as was Colonel Aldrich of AMMISCA. Maj. Frank 
D. Merrill, who had come to Burma from the Philippines prior to the outbreak 
of the war to join AMMISCA and who had been with the British during the 
opening phases of the campaign, was liaison officer with the British. Capt. Paul 
L. Jones acted as transportation officer and cut across command channels and 
red tape in the attempt to move supplies forward. Supply officer and head- 
quarters commandant for Stilwell's modest establishment was Maj. Felix 
Nowakowski. 79 

The Chinese Begin Their Fight 

The concentration of the 200th Division about Toungoo in the Sittang 
valley was covered by the 1st Burma Division. On 1 March this formation 

77 (1) Ltr dted pT^6(4).| (2) Hutton Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 44. (3) 
The Campaign in mTTTIT37T^13. (4) Notes on First Burma Campaign by Maj. Frank D. Merrill. 
Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

78 Stilwell's liaison system in Burma in 1942 was very similar to the one the French used during 
World War I. By their system, General Headquarters (Grand Quartier General) continuously 
and swiftly was informed of events in the field. Stilwell's knowledge of the French system came 
from a volume by Edward L. Spears, Liaison, 1914: A Narrative of the Great Retreat (Garden City, 
N. Y., 1931), in his Carmel, Calif, library. 

79 Ltr, Merrill to Maj Gen Harry J. Malony, Chief, HD SSUSA, 10 Jul 47, p. 6; Ltr, Maj Gen 
W. G. Wyman to Malony, 27 Jun 47; Ltr, Nowakowski to Sunderland, 13 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 
CBI 1947, 1950. 



106 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



scored one of the rare Allied tactical successes of the campaign by recovering 
two Burmese villages from the Japanese in an attempt to close on the 17th 
Indian Division. Then it halted, for the decision had been reached to mass the 
British (or imperial forces, as they will be called henceforth, because most of 
them were Indian and Burmese) in the Irrawaddy valley while the Chinese 
gathered around Toungoo. 80 On the 15 th, Alexander promised Stilwell that the 
Burma Division would hold its position below Toungoo until Stilwell could 
move up another Chinese division to support the 200th. 81 Before that stage was 
reached, General Tu asked General Alexander to move the Burma Division 
"out of his way." Alexander was willing, for he was concerned about the 
Irrawaddy valley and wanted to hasten his concentration there. At this point, 
Stilwell intervened through Major Merrill and, reminding Alexander of his 
promise, secured a delay in the Burma Division's withdrawal. The 5th Army's 
concentration was still incomplete when the Japanese began to drive north. 
The Burma Division fought several rear guard actions before it passed through 
the Chinese lines and began to entrain for its trip to the Irrawaddy. 82 

After Stilwell established himself in Burma on 21 March, he sent out Battle 
Order 0001, through the Chinese General Staff Mission to Burma, to Head- 
quarters, Chinese Expeditionary Force, thus proclaiming his intention of using 
the normal Chinese command channels. The chief of the mission, General 
Lin Wei, reported the order had gone at once to Generals Kan and Tu and 
should reach them on the 22d. Further, added Lin, he had alerted Tu by tele- 
phone, so that the 5th Army could go to work at once. The order attached the 
Temporary- 5 5th Division of the 6th Army to the 200th Division and directed 
the 55th to close on the 200th. Both forces were to be under General Tu, who 
was made responsible for Toungoo's defense. The 22 d Division, under 
Stilwell's control, was to move to Taungdwingyi, at the rear and center of the 
Allied line from Prome to Toungoo, and be prepared to assist the British in 
the Prome area. The 96th Division, also in army reserve, would move to 
Mandalay. 83 

This attempt to do China's share in holding the line Toungoo-Prome, as 
the Generalissimo had directed, resulted in the stubborn twelve days' defense 
of Toungoo by the 200th Division against repeated attacks by the 55 th Division. 
The walled town of Toungoo was a railroad station and road junction on the 
Mandalay-Rangoon road, and from it there was a road east into the Shan 

80 Foucar, pp. 96, 109-12, 125-26. 

81 Stilwell Diary, 15 Mar 42. 

82 (1) Diary, 18 Mar 42, cited ln. 7b(4)| (2) Ltr, Col Frank D. Merrill, Notes on Burma 
Campaign. History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Lh. V. (3) History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. IV. (4) The Cam- 
paign in Burma, pp. 10-11. (5) Rad MA London, 13 Mar 42. Item 1469, Folder II, A47-136. 
(6) Foucar, pp. 125-30. (7) Burmarmy Sitrep, 23 Mar 42. All Burmarmy Sitreps are in Opera- 
tions Information Telegrams, A48-179. (8) Memo, Merrill for Stilwell, 20 Mar 42. SNF-56. 

"(1) Battle Order 0001, 21 Mar 42, Lashio, Gen Stf Mission to Burma, NMC of Republic 
of China, Hq, Chinese Expeditionary Force, to Lt Gen Y. M. Tu, CO 5th Army, and to Lt Gen 
L. T. Kang [sic~\, signed Joseph W. Stilwell, Lt Gen. USA. Commanding; Ltr, Lin Wei to Stilwell, 
21 Mar 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. (SeefBibliogra phical Note.| 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



107 



States that connected with the several roads from south to north that ulti- 
mately joined the Burma Road. There was an airfield adjacent to Toungoo, 
where the AVG trained before the war. The town itself was one of the larger 
population centers in the area. Almost due west of it on the Irrawaddy River 
was Prome, a rail terminus and river port. Prome was held by elements of 1 
Burma Corps (17th Indian Division, 1st Burma Division, 7th Armored 
Brigade Group) under Lt. Gen. William J. Slim. Slim's men faced the Japanese 
33d Division (213th, 214th, 215th Regiments). , 84 

There was no line in the sense of a continuous fortified position, for the 
smallness of the force, the distance, and the intervening hill mass prevented 
that, but if either partner fell back the other would be concerned about his 
exposed flank, so each anxiously eyed the other. Toungoo's garrison, the 200th 
Division, was led by Maj. Gen. Tai An-lan, a man of "ability and force, and 
considerable courage." 85 General Tai had two regiments in Toungoo, less 
detachments on an outpost line to the south, with his third regiment guarding 
the airfield to his rear. 

The Japanese wanted to take the airfield and also uncover the road to 
Taunggyi. Orders for an attack by the 55th Division with two regiments were 
issued on 12 March, and the operation began on the 19th when the 112th Regi- 
ment hit Tai's outposts. The Chinese held stoutly south of Toungoo on the five 
succeeding days, and the Japanese decided to try encirclement, sending their 
1 43d Regiment around the Chinese west flank. The 143d surprised the airfield 
garrison about 0700 on 24 March and cut the road and rail line to the north. 86 

With the Chinese regiment holding the airfield were a mountain battery 
and some mounted infantry of the Burma Division en route to the Irrawaddy 
front. There must have been some choice as to a line of retreat, for the imperial 
units managed to make their way to the Irrawaddy, while the Chinese fell back 
on Toungoo. The town was then besieged, though it was incompletely 
encircled and open to the east. Fortunately, the Chinese had prepared it for 
all-around defense, with brick pillboxes and carefully arranged fields of fire. 

Stilwell arrived at the front on 22 March. Over the next two days he and 
Tu reached a tentative agreement to bring the 2 2d Division as near as possible 
to Toungoo and prepare to counterattack with it in support of the 200th. 87 
The Temporary- 5 5 th Division would be in reserve near by. On the 25 th, the 
Chinese 1st and 2d Reserve Regiments arrived north of the city, were ordered 
to retake the airfield, but failed to move. To the south the 112th Regiment 
launched one strong attack after another into Toungoo, broke into it, and by 
the evening of the 26th held it to the line of the railroad. The valor of the 

84 (1) Rad AMMISCA 371, Stilwell to AGWAR, 18 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (4-14-41) Sec 
1A. (2) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. 

85 The Campaign in Burma, p. 93. 

86 Japanese Document 3 562, Vestiges of War, a history of the 55th Division, pp. 6-9. Gen 
Ref Br, OCMH. 

87 The Stilwell Papers, p. 69. 



108 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Chinese soldiery, stubborn and tenacious in defense, asserted itself in those 
close quarters, and for three days the struggle rocked back and forth within 
the walls. Though Stil well's command post believed it had identified all three 
of the 55th's regiments in action at Toungoo, which would make the Japanese 
force a powerful one, Stilwell nevertheless thought the situation hopeful. 88 

The Government of Burma, whose attitude toward the southward move- 
ment of the Chinese troops seemed to Stilwell's staff to lie somewhere between 
the apathetic and the hostile, was shocked by the encirclement of Toungoo 
and bestirred itself to speed the 5th Army's concentration. 89 The 22d Division 
was in place and ready to attack south to relieve the 200th Division, an attack 
which would have caught the 143d Regiment between two fires and confronted 
two Japanese regiments with two divisions plus two regiments of the General- 
issimo's best troops. "Here's our chance," wrote Stilwell on 26 March. 90 

The next day Stilwell began to learn that, despite the Generalissimo's state- 
ments in Chungking and the seeming acquiescence of the Chinese headquarters 
and the Chinese General Staff Mission to Burma, he did not command. The 
22d Division failed to move, and Tu was prolific with excuses as to why an 
attack was impossible. On the 28th, Tu again agreed to move, as the chief of 
the Chinese military delegation to India and Burma told Stilwell, "I have just 
received a telegram from Lt. Gen. Tu Yu-ming, Vice-commander, CEF 
[Chinese Expeditionary Force] in Burma, which states: 'Your order dated 28 
March 1942 has been received. I had circulated it [sic'] to all the troops under 
my command. I feel, sir, I have the honor to transmit it to you.' " 91 

Stilwell now began to fear that the Japanese were reinforcing on his front 
with troops from the Irrawaddy and so on 28 March he asked Alexander to 
attack. Next day Major Merrill and Lt. Kenneth G. Haymaker left for Prome 
to seek Alexander's and Slim's co-operation. Though Alexander thought 
nothing useful could be accomplished by the operation he agreed and the 
attack was delivered as promised. On the Sittang front the 22d Division again 
did nothing, so on 30 March Stilwell faced the command issue squarely and 
resolved to confront the Generalissimo with the facts. 92 

While Stilwell was arguing and pleading with Tu Yu-ming to attack one 
Japanese regiment with five Chinese regiments, the Japanese were vigorously 
at work in Toungoo, and on 30 March the 200th Division began to retire. 
The withdrawal was well handled, and the 200th Division got away intact. 
The stubborn defense of Toungoo by the 200th Division was the longest defen- 
sive stand made by any of Burma's defenders and reflected great credit on the 

88 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 69-71. (2) Ltr, Boatner to Chief, HD SSUSA, 30 Jul 47, p. 20. 
HIS 330.14 CBI 1242— 

89 Ltr cited n.F6(4) 

90 Stilwell Diary, 26 Mar 42. 

91 Ltr, Fisher T. Hou, Chief, Chinese Mil Delegation to India and Burma, to Stilwell, 31 Mar 
42. SNF-56. 

92 The Stilwell Papers, pp. 74-75. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



109 



division and its commander. Five years after, the Japanese looked back on it as 
the hardest fighting of the campaign. 93 

Merrill and Haymaker returned from their trip to Slim's headquarters to 
report that Slim had ordered one armored and two infantry brigades to attack 
the Japanese flank on the Irrawaddy. "In case of a breakthrough," they added, 
"objective is Rangoon." 94 

Alexander greatly restricted the number of troops to be used in the attack. 
The Burma Division, now reduced to seven battalions, was not drawn on. 
For the first phase a task force of three battalions plus one company of infantry, 
a tank battalion, a battery of artillery, and a company of sappers and miners 
was assembled. A reinforced battalion was ordered to protect the flank on the 
Irrawaddy. 

The operation began the evening of 28 March, sorely hampered by the 
lack of air reconnaissance. Next day the British task force found the Japanese 
active on its eastern flank and became involved in a struggle with road blocks 
in trying to cope with this situation. Word then came that the Japanese (215th 
Regiment) were in Shwedaung, behind the task force. The British commander 
elected to cut his way out through the town, having already tried and failed 
to budge the Japanese on his eastern flank. The fighting on the outskirts of 
Shwedaung that afternoon and night was heavy, for the Japanese were con- 
tinually reinforced from across the Irrawaddy. The detachment placed to guard 
against this had been ambushed and overwhelmed. The task force fought its 
way into Shwedaung during the day but could not get its vehicles through 
the town. They were abandoned at 1800 hours and the men retreated on foot. 
Ten tanks were lost, and units for which figures were available in 1943 reported 
371 casualties. As a result of this action, the general fatigue of the troops, and 
the nature of the terrain, Wavell and Alexander agreed that a retreat of some 
fifty miles should begin "forthwith." 95 

The Loss of Air Cover 

Having been driven from the Irrawaddy valley on 21 and 22 March, the 
Allied air units were unable to influence the campaign. Shortly before the 
loss of Rangoon the RAF and AVG withdrew to Magwe. For an air-warning 
net that field depended on two lines of Observer Corps telephones down the 
Sittang and Irrawaddy valleys. Nothing had been done to give the field accom- 
modations, revetments, or dispersal facilities. The Japanese 5th Air Division, 

93 (1) Japanese Study 88. (2) CM-IN 0262, Stilwell to AGWAR, 1 Apr 42. (3) Ltr, 10 Jul 
47, pp. 23-24, cite d n. 7^T| (4) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 15-23. (5) Jour, pp. 3-9, cited 
n. 72(1). (6) Diary, '1H Mar 42, cited n. 75(4). (7) Jack Belden, Retreat with Stilwell (New 
York, 1943), p. 43. (8) Interrog, Colonel Kouchi, Stf Off, 15th Army, 8 Jan 48. Gen Ref Br, 
OCMH. 

94 Diary, 29 Mar 42, cited n. 75(4). 

95 (1) Foucar, pp. 112-23, 138. (2) Burmarmy Sitreps, 31 Mar, 1 Apr 42. (3) Alexander 
Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 29. 



110 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the Japanese air headquarters in Burma, surmised the existence of another 
Allied air base in the Irrawaddy valley after Rangoon's fall and began the 
search. The find was actually made by the 33d Division on 9 March, probably 
by agents attached to that unit. 

With the completion of the Japanese campaign in Java the arrival of six 
more Japanese air regiments was expected by J>th Air Division, and the blow 
on Magwe was held back till their arrival. 96 Meanwhile, discovering some 
fifty Japanese aircraft on Mingaladon field near Rangoon, the RAF mustered 
9 Blenheim light bombers and 10 Hurricane fighters for a profitable attack on 
21 March. While these aircraft were refueling and rearming in leisurely fashion 
that afternoon, the Japanese retaliated with the full weight of ten air regi- 
ments, perhaps 200 aircraft, all they had in Burma. Two more heavy attacks 
were made on the 22d. 97 When the Japanese finished, 9 Blenheims and 3 
P-^iO's were counted as destroyed on the ground; 3 Hurricanes destroyed in 
the air; 5 Blenheims left unserviceable. As a result of this crippling blow the 
RAF aircraft withdrew to Akyab on the Arakan coast, while the ground per- 
sonnel went to Lashio. Japanese bombings on 23, 24, and 27 March made 
Akyab untenable, and the few RAF surviving aircraft went to India from where 
they made some fifty-eight attacks in support of Alexander's withdrawal. The 
AVG displaced to Kunming to refit and reorganize. 

Having forced the Allied air arm beyond the borders of Burma, the method- 
ical Japanese now turned to the bombardment of the Burmese cities. They 
were largely unopposed, and their attacks usually ended the normal life of 
whatever town they chose to assault — Prome, Meiktila, Mandalay, Thazi, 
Pyinmana, Maymyo, Lashio, and Taunggyi. 98 

At Magwe the tactical results of the disaster were serious. There was no 
fighter cover for Allied troop movements. Allied commanders had only spo- 
radic and inexpert air reconnaissance. The Japanese exploited the advantages 
of air reconnaissance to the utmost. The absence of air cover and reconnais- 
sance on the Allied side was further aggravated by the sentiments of the 
Burmans. The countryside was now passively hostile, occasionally flaring into 
overt violence. Thanks to sympathetic Burmans, Japanese knowledge of the 
dispositions and movements of the Allies was detailed and exact, while the 
Japanese themselves seemed to melt into the background. Bullock-cart trans- 
port and native dress aided greatly in this. The Allies felt themselves constantly 
observed, while their stragglers were sniped or butchered, their wounded 
mutilated, and their buildings burned. There is no evidence that this guerrilla 
activity affected the course of the campaign or could not have been disregarded 
by a vigorous commander who took routine precautions, but it weighed on 
the spirits of the Chinese, Indian, and British soldiers. 
96 (1) Foucar, pp. 21 9-21. (2) J apanese Study 94, Ch. VI. 

97 (1) Jour, p. 3, cited |n. /2(1)| (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 15-16. (3) Japanese Study 
94, Ch. VI. 

98 Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 26. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



111 




SURVIVORS OF JAPANESE AIR ATTACK are helped from collapsed shelters in 
Maymyo, Burma, April 1942. 

Many high functionaries of the Burman independence movement visited 
Japan in 1940-41, and the Japanese later stated that information was received 
from them. Very probably arrangements were made then to arm and train 
Burmese patriots when the Japanese attacked. Such an "army," perhaps 1,000 
strong, was actually organized during the campaign. In addition to volunteer 
informants, the Japanese made good use of aerial reconnaissance and informa- 
tion patiently gathered from commercial sources." 

StilwelPs G-2, Colonel Roberts, had no means to cope with such a situa- 

"(1) Wavell Despatch, December 15, 1944, to May 20, 1942, Supplement to The London 
Gazette, par. 32. (2) Hutton Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 55. (3) Alexander 
Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 31. (4) Interrog of Lt Gen Shinichi Tanaka, 13 
Jan 48. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. General Tanaka was chief of operations of the General Staff in 
Tokyo; with Headquarters, Southern Army, in Singapore; commanded the 18th Division in the 
North Burma Camp aign (194 3—44); and ended the war as chief of staff of the Burma Area Army. 
(5) Interrog cited nl 93 ( 8) .1 (6) Interrog, Lt Col Masahiko Takeshita, Stf Off, 15th Army, 8 Jan 
48. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. Colonel Takeshita claimed that the Japanese had not had a very exact 
knowledge of Burma's terrain before the war, and so spent one month in intensive study of 
material captured at Rangoon. He also referred to the services of Japanese living in Burma. 



112 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



tion. His G-2 Section was simply himself, with occasional aid in translation 
from Merrill, who had been a language student and lived with the Japanese 
Army. In Roberts' opinion, the British tended to concentrate on a network of 
informants and to neglect ground reconnaissance, so that only rarely did they 
know where the Japanese were prior to the next Japanese attack. Their interest 
was directed toward material of value to the War Office. The Chinese, though 
willing to help Roberts, seemed to him not very interested in military intelli- 
gence, and their combat reports were unreliable. The result was that Burma's 
defenders did not know the strength or disposition of the Japanese and were 
"practically blind." Searching for some remedy, Roberts persuaded Chennault 
to assign two fighters a day to reconnaissance, for he could not obtain such 
help from the Royal Air Force. The effect of these dangerous and seemingly 
futile missions was very bad on pilot morale. 100 

The AVG Keeps Up the Fight 

From the Chinese side of the fighting in Burma, Chennault retaliated 
swiftly for the attack on Magwe. Flights of the 1st and 2d AVG Squadrons 
were staged through forward airstrips to attack the Chiang Mai airfields on 24 
March. The 2d Squadron attacked successfully, but the strike was marred by 
the loss of two pilots, one of them Jack Newkirk, of Scarsdale, N. Y., who 
with ten and a half victories was one of the leading American aces of the war's 
early days. On 10 April Chennault personally led twelve fighters to Loiwing, 
just over the border from Burma, and resumed operations from there. He had 
a grand total of 35 fighters in commission (including 13 new P-40E's) and 20 
deadlined.To receive P-40E's the AVG had had to detach some of its pilots and 
send them to Takoradi in Africa to ferry them back to China. Twenty-six were 
on hand there by 23 April. 101 With their better equipment and performance 
they were a godsend to the AVG. Medium bombers would have been extremely 
useful to Chennault. He understood there were some in India and in April tried 
to obtain them from Brereton and Bissell, but none could be made available 
until June, long after the campaign was over. If the B-25's led by Lt. Col. 
James H. Doolittle in the first air attack on Tokyo on 18 April had made 
good their landing in China, they would have joined Chennault, but bad 
weather and poor communications, plus a flight longer than planned, resulted 
in the loss of all sixteen. 102 

100 Ltr, Roberts to Malony, 21 Jul 47. HIS 330.14 CBI 1947. 

,01 (1) Robert B. Hotz, With General Chennault (New York, 1943), pp. 199-200. (2) 
Chennault was ordered to active duty (he was until then a retired officer) on 9 April 1942 as a 
colonel and almost immediately afterward was promoted to brigadier general. (3) Memo 2, Bissell 
for Generalissimo, 14 Apr 42, sub: AVG; Ltr to CO, First AVG, 23 Apr 42. Ltrs to Generalissimo 
(Apr 42-Apr 44), CT 23, Dr 1, KCRC. 

102 (1) Ltr, Chennault to Bissell, 21 Apr 42; Ltr, Chennault to Brereton, 23 Apr 42, sub: 
Employment of B-25's. AVG File, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air 
Forces, I, pp. 438-44. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



113 



Most of the AVG missions flown in April were patrol and reconnaissance, 
many of them low-level, three-ship flights over the Chinese lines to "show the 
Hag" and "build morale." These latter missions were heartily disliked by the 
pilots, who considered themselves entirely vulnerable to the Japanese. Because 
they reported negative information on Japanese troop movements, they came 
to feel that their lives were being needlessly risked on futile reconnaissance 
missions. Actually, the information was useful to Stilwell, because it established 
the fact that there was no threat to Meiktila from a Japanese flanking move- 
ment as was feared for a time. 

Two Japanese attempts to destroy the AVG at Loiwing resulted in the 
damage of 9 parked aircraft, while the Japanese lost 11. After the second 
Japanese raid on 10 April there was no major aerial combat until the 28th, 
when 14 or 15 P^O's met a force of escorted bombers near Lashio. Calculating 
that the Japanese would try to make a burnt offering of the AVG for the 
Emperor's birthday, Chennault emptied the Loiwing field and disposed his 
fighters to intercept. Thirteen Japanese fighters were downed for one AVG 
fighter damaged in landing. 10i On the basis of statistics April was a good 
month. The AVG tallied 33 Japanese aircraft as certain and 10 probable, for the 
loss of 1 aircraft destroyed and 9 damaged by strafing, with one pilot 
wounded. 104 

The type of mission flown, the cumulative strain of months of combat 
against heavy odds, the mounting discontent over the lack of aircraft and pilot 
replacements, the feeling of isolation and sacrifice, finally took concrete form 
among members of the AVG in a refusal to obey orders. A plan to fly escort 
for RAF Blenheims after the RAF had failed to keep an earlier rendezvous lit 
the fuse. Three or four pilots assigned to the mission refused to go. A group 
meeting only increased the tension and twenty-four pilots, the overwhelming 
majority of those present, offered their resignations. This crisis was met when 
Chennault told his pilots their action would be considered desertion. All but 
a few took back their resignations and the affair was smoothed over. 105 

Knowing the causes of the outbreak, Chennault tried to remove them. He 
suggested four immediate steps to Colonel Bissell of Stilwell's staff, who was 
also Army Air Forces representative at Chungking. These were: an appeal from 
the President to the AVG to stay in action; the immediate transfer of 30 
fighter pilots and 50 to 100 crewmen from those then present at Karachi; early 
transfer of increments of the 23d Pursuit Group so the AVG could be recon- 
stituted as a U.S. fighter group under that unit designation; relief from low- 
level, ground-support missions. A message from Roosevelt to the group was 
speedily sent. The progress of the campaign soon made it impossible to fly 

103 Ltr, 10 Jul 47, citec l n. 79-1 

104 (1) Chennault, Way of a hghter, pp. 149-50. (2) Hotz, With General Chennault, pp. 201-06. 
(3) Int Summary, AVG Activities for Apr 42, Hq AVG. AVG File, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

105 (1) Hotz, With General Chennault, pp. 207-16. (2) Ltr, Chennault to Bissell, 19 Apr 42. 
AVG File, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 



114 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the sort of missions objected to. The other suggestions were not acted on. 
Loiwing was evacuated on 4 May with the approach of the Japanese Army. 106 

The Attempts To Reinforce 

Though these events meant the loss of air cover in Burma, the failure to 
remedy the situation did not mean lack of interest at the highest level. Presi- 
dent Roosevelt, General Marshall, and Dr. Currie resembled men frantically 
working at a fire engine who see only a few drops of water trickle out at the 
end of a very long and leaky hose. Aircraft and pilots were allocated in quantity 
to Stilwell's air force, but nothing seemed to emerge in the Burmese skies. 

Presumably, there were very considerable reinforcements for the AVG on 
the way. Marshall heard a month later that fifty-five pilots were set up for 
the 23d Pursuit Group on the assumption that the AVG would be inducted 
and redesignated as the 23d Group. Thirty-three of them were to fly over in 
A-29's for the Chinese Air Force; the other twenty-two pilots were designated 
already. The situation looked even brighter with regard to aircraft for the AVG 
and Chinese Air Force. There were 13 P-40E's east of Karachi, 6 there, and 29 
on the way; 34 P-66's were on ship; 30 P-43's at Karachi, 57 at sea, and 21 in 
the United States ready to go. 107 On paper this seemed an imposing aggrega- 
tion, and so Stilwell was asked by the War Department to find out if the 
Generalissimo would part with any of them for Brereton's use since no other 
fighters were readily available. 108 

The proposal came at a singularly poor time. The Generalissimo had com- 
plained to the President of the poor support China was receiving. Shortly after, 
there came a reply over Roosevelt's signature saying that the United States was 
stretched to the utmost. The menace to India, and so to the life line to China, 
was very grave, and immediate support had to be given to the British. This 
would have to come from the aircraft intended for the AVG, so after that unit 
had been brought back to strength the difference would go to Brereton for 
the defense of India. Coming only a few days after Stilwell's Chungking head- 
quarters had promised that no aircraft would be diverted without the General- 
issimo's consent, this was too much for the Chinese. The Generalissimo was 
"angry and excited." He told Bissell the action was a breach of faith which 
would adversely affect the good relations between China and the United States. 
Madame Chiang sent a very strong message to the President, bitterly protesting 
any such diversion from China's meager allocations. Plainly there had been 
administrative confusion in Washington, and Currie rushed off a cable, reaffirm- 

106 (1) Ibid. (2) Memo, Col John R. Deane, Secy, WDGS, foe President, for CofS, 23 Apr 42. 
WDCSA (China), A45-466. (3) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, Chapter XI, gives Chennault's side 
of the story. The Air Forces' attitude is given in The Stilwell Papers, page 37. 

107 Memo, Brig Gen John H. Hilldring for CofS, 3 Apr 42, sub: Induction of AVG; Tab C, 
sub: Materiel and Personnel Status of AVG Replacements. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

108 CM-OUT 2348, Arnold to Stilwell, 14 Apr 42. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



115 




FIGHTER PLANES, P-43'S, receiving line service at an airfield in China, 1942. 



ing the old policy of making no diversions without China's consent. The 
Generalissimo was told that 456 aircraft were definitely allotted to China and 
would be sent in haste. The War Department query on the possibility of 
diverting Chinese aircraft was promptly shelved by Stilwell's headquarters. 109 
But there was no relief for the AVG in any of this, either with regard to 
personnel or materiel. Without informing Stilwell or Chennault, the Air Ferry 
Command canceled the forward movement of the replacements, so that two 
months after the first P-40's landed at Karachi, Chennault received only thirty- 
two aircraft and no personnel replacements. 110 No pilots reached him before the 
loss of Burma. Of the lend-lease fighter aircraft over which the Chinese were 
so concerned, ten P— 43's were borrowed by Chennault from the Chinese Air 
Force and used in the summer of 1942. The remainder of those ferried to 
China were never used in combat. Those in India were, with Chinese consent, 
returned to U.S. custody in July and salvaged, for after the Chinese had 
insisted on receiving them and accepted delivery they then stated the 43's 

109 (1) Memo 4, Col Bissell for Generalissimo, 18 Apr 42. Ltrs to Generalissimo (Apr 42-Apr 
44), CT 23, Dr 1, KCRC. (2) Memo, Marshall for President, 22 Apr 42, sub: Airplanes for 
China. WDCSA (China), A45-466. (3) Rad, Marshall to AMMISCA, 15 Apr 42. AG 381 
( 12-19-41) . This radio put Brereton under British command for the time being and repeated 
that all aircraft over the authorized strength of the AVG would go to him. (4) Rad, personal 
from President to Generalissimo, 21 Apr 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 

1,0 CM-IN 0955, Stilwell to AGWAR, 4 May 42. 



116 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



were unfit for combat. 111 In India, Brereton was struggling to assemble his 
Tenth Air Force with plenty of fuel and pilots but no aircraft. The Chinese 
would not consent to his having "their" fighters, while the B-17's were help- 
lessly strung out over the long ferry route from Miami, victims of a spare parts 
shortage and poor maintenance. Four months of unremitting effort from March 
to June 1942 brought no increase whatever in the size of Brereton's force. 112 
Brereton was more than willing to use what he could against the Japanese. 
This was 8 heavy bombers — 6 of them from Java and 2 that had struggled 
across Africa — none in good condition. Conferring with Stilwell in Burma on 
24 March, Brereton set 1 May as the approximate date that the Tenth could 
go into action. When he returned to Delhi three days later, Wavell told him 
that there was a strong possibility of a "combined sea-air attack in the near 
future on Calcutta or Colombo, possibly both," because the Japanese were 
accumulating shipping at Rangoon and at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, 
which they had occupied shortly before. This and a "query from Wavell" led 
Brereton to rush preparations and attack Rangoon and Port Blair. The 
Rangoon mission was a failure, but eight tons of bombs were laid on Port 
Blair. Stilwell was surprised and angered, for he wanted the heavy bombers 
used against hostile aviation in Burma, and Brereton appeared close to dis- 
obedience. 113 

Brereton, however, as Stilwell soon learned, was acting in accord with the 
wishes of the President and Chief of Staff. The Tenth's commander also sent 
Stilwell a detailed, candid explanation of his problems and his actions, which 
revealed he had 7 B-17's, 1 B-24, 1 B-24D, and 7 P-40E's. His bombers could 
not operate in daylight, because the gunners were not trained and would not 
be so for another fortnight. The readiness of more squadrons depended on the 
receipt of aircraft, a matter over which he had no control and little information. 
His bombing missions had been flown on moonlit nights which was a good 
way to train raw crews. To operate in Burma he needed fighter cover and air- 
warning services, which were not then available. 114 

In answer, Stilwell expressed complete faith in Brereton as a commander 
and as a fighter. He added that he knew crossed radios and poor communica- 
tions might cause misunderstandings. He wanted his U.S. forces to work as a 
team, and of his subordinates he asked only a prior look at major matters of 
policy and enough advance warning to co-ordinate the American effort. The 
tone was cordial and suggested that Stilwell regarded the incident as closed. 115 

1U (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 178. (2) Memo 26, Bissell for Generalissimo, 2 Jul 42. 
Ltrs to Generalissimo (Apr 42-Apr 44), CT 23, Dr 1, KCRC. (3) CM-IN 05412, Stilwell to 
Arnold, 13 Oct 42. 

112 Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, pp. 494—95. 

113 Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, The Brereton Diaries (New York, 1946), pp. 113, 116-17. 
(2) Wavell Despatch, December 15, 1941, to May 20, 1942, Supplement to The London Gazette, 
par. 24. (3) Rad cited n. 109(3). (4) Rad AMMISCA 463, Stilwell to Brereton, 5 Apr 42. Item 
6, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

114 Rad 21, Brereton to Stilwell, 9 Apr 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. 

115 Rad, Stilwell to Brereton. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. 



STILWELL BEGINS HIS MISSION 



117 



On 15 April the War Department told Stilwell that until further notice, the 
Tenth Air Force would support Wavell and the defense of India. The B-17's 
struck the Rangoon docks on 16 and 29 April. 116 

Summary 

March closed with StilwelPs central problem clear to him and the impor- 
tance of its solution growing more urgent by the day. The military situation 
was bad enough, with the Toungoo-Prome line falling and air support lost. 
The only possible American contribution was more air support, and that was 
failing to arrive. These circumstances Stilwell apparently saw as subordinate to 
the one great question of command. He saw three possible courses open to 
him: (1) to accept his situation and do nothing about it; (2) to resign his 
command; and (3) to demand complete freedom of action in Burma with a 
force of Chinese under his command. He decided to proceed to Chungking, 
describe the situation to the Generalissimo, and then suggest that the General- 
issimo either relieve him or give him independent command. With this resolve 
Stilwell left Burma for Chungking on 31 March 1942. 117 

u6 (l) CM-OUT 2708, Marshall to Stilwell, 15 Apr 42. (2) Rad 134, President to Former 
Naval Person. Hopkins Papers. (3) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, p. 501. 
117 (1) Stilwell Diary, 1 Apr 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 75-78. 



CHAPTER IV 



China's Blockade Becomes 
Complete 

When Stilwell conferred with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang on 
1 April he could not charge a clear, apparent repudiation of the Soong-Stimson 
accord on command, for he was faced with something else. The Generalissimo 
had given Stilwell command of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma 
and then treated Stilwell exactly as he did his other army commanders. The 
Generalissimo believed in exercising the most detailed command from Chung- 
king, on the basis of information which he received days late over an uncertain 
communications net. 1 And so he had sent radio after radio and letter after letter 
to his commanders in Burma— some bypassing Stilwell, some going to him. 
The Generalissimo's March 1942 letters to Stilwell have not survived, but 
StilwelPs description of them suggests they were like those of April and May 
1942, which are available: "They direct all sorts of action and preparation with 
radical changes based on minor changes in the situation." 2 The result was that 
Tu had ignored Stilwell's orders, and that Alexander, to whose supreme com- 
mand in Burma the Chinese had agreed, was in fact unable to exercise that 
command. 

At the conference with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang on 1 April, 
Stilwell asserted that the Chinese commanders had failed to obey and did not 
indicate his belief that in reality they were obeying the Generalissimo. (Stilwell 
took the same line with his superiors in Washington, in that he did not put the 

1 The Generalissimo described his system of command to Stilwell some months later in a 
conference, 24 June 1942. See Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 24 Jun 
42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. Stilwell's appraisal of the system, based on experience 
of it, is on pages 77—78 of The Stilwell Papers. 

2 (1) Quotation from The Stilwell Papers, p. 76. (2) Upon his return to the United States in 
1944, Stilwell filed the Generalissimo's letters of April and May 1942 in three folders which are 
now in the Hoover Library. One group is in SNF-12; one is a folder labeled CKS Correspondence; 
and the third is an inclosure to General Lo Cho-ying s account of the First Burma Campaign in 
SNF-12. (3) "The Generalissimo, however, is the military commander in chief of the Chinese 
forces and it is his custom to give direct instructions to his divisional commanders. He sees no 
impropriety in this. In fact he actually gave me some of his communications to his divisional com- 
manders in Burma, obviously expecting me to concur in their propriety and reasonableness. These 
communications, however, were direct orders and had the effect of completely undermining 
Stilwell's position as Commander-in-Chief in the field." Rpt, Dr. Lauchlin Currie, sub: Rpt on 
Visit to China, 24 Aug 42. OPD 336 China (24 Aug 42) F/W 111, A47-30. 



CONFERENCE AT MAYMYO, BURMA. Gtntralmtmo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek 
with U. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwetl, 9 April 1942. 



120 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



principal blame on the Generalissimo but rather on the division and army 
commanders.) Stilwell asked the Generalissimo to relieve him, adding that 
since the Chinese had accepted British command his presence was no longer 
necessary. If the Generalissimo was dissatisfied with Stilwell, certainly here was 
the opportunity to send him home. On that note Stilwell returned to his 
quarters. 3 

Next day he was invited back to Huang Shan, the Generalissimo's country 
estate, to learn that the Generalissimo was ready to take steps to confirm 
Stilwell's full authority. This the Generalissimo proposed to do by appointing 
Lt. Gen. Lo Cho-ying as Stilwell's executive and by personally visiting Burma 
to make Stilwell's status clear to the latter's subordinates. Quickly taking ad- 
vantage of the more favorable atmosphere, Stilwell asked for the services of 
British-trained guerrilla units from Kiangsi Province. The Generalissimo at 
once agreed. Stilwell felt the request appealed to the Generalissimo, that he had 
been irked by British control over Chinese units. 4 

Sometime between the 2d and 4th of April Stilwell asked for the seal of 
authority. The Generalissimo agreed. On the 15th General Shang Chen sent 
the chop to Magruder: 

Acting under the instructions of the Generalissimo, I am sending you, by special mes- 
senger, an official seal bearing in Chinese the following inscription: 

"Chief of Staff, Headquarters of the Supreme Command of the Allied Forces, China War 
Theater." 

You are kindly requested to hand the seal over to Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell for his 
personal use. 5 

The Generalissimo then flew to Burma for conferences with the Chinese 
and British commanders over the 6th and 7th of April. There he lectured the 
Chinese generals and made it clear that Stilwell commanded. He told Alexander 
that the British must stand firm where they were, that there must be no more 
withdrawals. Stilwell was also encouraged by his own government. Roosevelt 
was very pleased by the frankness of Stilwell's report on the Toungoo fiasco 
and especially with his prompt measures to correct the situation. Apparently 
established in command beyond doubt, Stilwell prepared an ambitious plan for 
the discomfiture of the 55 th Division and began to busy himself with its 
execution. 6 

3 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 76-80. (2) Stilwell Diary, 1 Apr 42. (3) Stilwell B&W, 
1 Apr 42. 

Stilwell Diary, 2 Apr 42. (2) Stilwell B&W, 2 Apr 42. The British-trained Kiangsi troops 
were in the 32d Group Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Li Mo-an. 

5 (1) Ltr FAB 66, Gen Shang to Magruder, 15 Apr 42. Stilwell Folder, China 1942, Stilwell 
Personal Papers. (2) Stilwell Diary, 4 Apr 42. Editor White's passage on page 116 of The Stilwell 
Papers omits Stilwell's recording on page 49, Stilwell B&W, of the fact that he received the chop as 
chief of staff instead of one proper for the commander in chief of the Chinese Expeditionary Force 
in Burma. 

6 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 82-83. (2) CM-IN 2406, Stilwell to AGWAR, 7 Apr 42. (3) The 
Campaign in Burma, p. 30. On 8 April 1942 Tu was at pains to announce that Lo now commanded. 
(4) Rad, Marshall to Stilwell, 3 Apr 42. AG 381 (12-19-41). 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



121 



Stilwell asked the War Department to send an American infantry division 
to India, saying its presence would greatly strengthen his hand even if it could 
not be brought to Burma at once. 7 When it soon became obvious that no U.S. 
division would be assigned to him, Stilwell remarked in casual conversation 
with his staff that he wished he had some Chinese Communist troops in 
Burma, that he was sure they would accept orders from him. His G-2, Colonel 
Roberts, deprecated the suggestion, observing that since the Chinese Com- 
munists were not fighting the Japanese in China they were not likely to be 
willing to fight them in Burma. In 1944, Stilwell told Marshall that the 
Chinese Communists would have been willing to fight under him in 1942, and 
a passage in one of his analyses of the situation implies that in that year he 
had sought to use them somewhere but had been refused permission by the 
Generalissimo. 8 

The Pyinmana Plan and the Irrawaddy Front 

General Stilwell's plan to defeat the Japanese at Pyinmana called for the 
96th Division to concentrate in defensive positions there. {Maps fT| and \4) 
The 200th Division was to be poised and ready north and northeast oF 
Pyinmana. The 22d Division was to fall back slowly on Pyinmana. On reach- 
ing its vicinity, the 22d was to fall back rapidly to the northwest, allowing the 
Japanese to come into contact with the 96th Division. Two weeks were 
allowed for this. As soon as the Japanese were well involved, a heavy counter- 
attack was to be launched with all three divisions. "For the sake of policy," 
this emerged as "General Tu's Plan" for a counterofFensive. To the Chinese 
right, it would be essential for the British to hold in the Irrawaddy valley. 
They doubted their ability to do this and, when the Generalissimo visited 
Burma, Army in Burma headquarters asked for a Chinese division. One divi- 
sion was promised on condition that the British hold just north of Allanmyo. 9 

Deployment of the Chinese forces for the Pyinmana battle began on 3 
April, and the 200th and 96th Divisions were in place by 6 April. The 22d 
Division executed its delaying mission successfully. The Japanese were still to 

7 Rad AGWAR 448, Stilwell to Stimson and Marshall, 3 Apr 42. Item 5, Bk 1, JWS Per- 
sonal File. 

8 (1) Interv with Brig Gen Frank N. Roberts, 25 Apr 51. (2) Rad CHC 1241, Stilwell to 
Marshall, 3 Jul 44. SNF-131. (3) Stilwell's cryptic comment is: "Use of Reds: 1942— No. Later 
attempts. No. Use of Cordon troops (Hu /Tsung-nan?/) . No. Finally 1944— a few units 
grudgingly moved through fear for Kunming." The passage is from a paper found among his 
miscellaneous writings, which begins with the passage, "Mission. — Raise efficiency of Chinese 
Army for participation in the war. Chiang Kai-shek failure to carry out . . .," and ends, "No 
support anywhere. Chinese could not believe Chinese troops could fight the Japanese. No interest 
in Ramgarh or in Burma." Stilwell Papers, Hoover Library. (4) No other references to this episode 
have been found by the authors in any source examined by them. 

9 (1) Notes by Col. Frank N. Roberts, as collated by Capt. John LeR. Christian. MIS Folder, 
Burma Campaign, MID Library. (2) Foucar, pp. 202, 224. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 
30, 31. 




MAP 4 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



123 



be delayed as late as 17 April, for when the Chinese battalion on the outpost 
line withdrew prematurely, the officer responsible was sentenced to be shot. 
The Pyinmana trap was ready to be sprung, but events forced its dismantling 
before the intended victim was fairly ensnared. General Stilwell had ordered 
the 22d Division to delay for two weeks. It had done that but as the Chinese 
and Stilwell waited for the Japanese, events along the Irrawaddy had, by the 
17th, made it impossible to execute the Pyinmana plan. 10 

An ultimate withdrawal from Prome to Allanmyo had been agreed on by 
Generals Wavell and Alexander, but the 63d Indian Infantry Brigade holding 
Prome, when attacked by the Japanese on the night of 30-31 March, withdrew 
after brief and desultory fighting, leaving 17th Indian Division's right flank 
exposed. On learning that the Japanese were passing through the gap, thus 
raising the possibility of a road block in his rear, the division commander after 
a consultation with corps headquarters ordered a retreat to the Allanmyo area. 
The movement was made speedily and without enemy interference. 11 

While the Chinese were insisting on the holding of Allanmyo and Stilwell 
at Pyinmana was awaiting the chance to launch his attack, the British com- 
manders in Burma had been thinking of still further withdrawals. On 3 April 
Wavell radioed the War Cabinet that 1 Burma Corps would probably have 
to fall back to Magwe, about twenty miles up the river beyond Minhla, because 
the position they held was untenable. He was not hopeful of the situation in 
Burma and was considering the various evacuation routes. Next day, at 
Wavell's request, Alexander submitted his own estimate in equally dark terms, 
for he thought a gradual withdrawal northward inevitable, with the Allies 
covering Mandalay as long as possible. To complete the picture, Brereton sub- 
mitted a similar estimate. 12 Since Wavell and Alexander took this attitude, it 
is hardly surprising that, though there was no Japanese pressure, between 3 
and 8 April 1 Burma Corps fell back from about Allanmyo to the line Minhla- 
Taungdwingyi. Though the Japanese Air Force was usually much in evidence 
in those dark days, there was no contact with their ground forces. 

This withdrawal was announced to Stil well's and the Chinese 5th Army 
headquarters on 6 April. The British liaison officer painted a depressing picture, 
saying that as a result of previous battles their battalions were down to 300 
or 400 men each and tanks could not operate off the roads without careful 
prior reconnaissance. The Chinese were upset by the news and caustic in their 
comments. General Sibert told the British liaison officer that the Chinese were 



10 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 30, 42. (2) Opns Jour, Burma, 16 Mar-2 May 42, Col 
Roberts, G— 2, p. 11. MID Library. (Hereafter, Roberts' Journal.) 

n (l) Foucar, pp. 140-44. (2) Roberts' Journal, p. 11. (3) Burmarmy Sitrep, 4 Apr 42. 

12 (1) Rads London 2312, 2337, 3, 6 Apr 42. A47-136. (2) Speaking to MacMorland on 10 
April, Col. Orde Charles Wingate, later the famous Chindit commander, forecast a withdrawal 
to northern and eastern Burma. MacMorland Diary, 10 Apr 42. (3) CM— IN 2166, Brereton to 
AG WAR, 7 Apr 42. 



124 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



extremely disappointed in British withdrawals and that continued withdrawal 
would have a serious effect on the attitude of the Chinese. On the 10th Lo 
and Tu presented Stilwell with a letter, dated 9 April, from the Generalissimo, 
saying there would be no Chinese division to aid the British; a battalion was 
enough. 13 

This letter began a series of references to the Irrawaddy front in com- 
munications from the Generalissimo that go far to illustrate his method of 
long-range command and his bypassing Alexander, to whose over- all command 
in Burma he had recently agreed. On 10 April the Generalissimo reversed his 
stand of the 9th and wrote: 

. . . According to our original plans a strong division must speedily be sent to support 
the British forces in meeting the northward advance of the enemy along the Irrawaddy. 
This is a strategic move which can by no means be neglected. It is my fundamental plan 
for the destruction of the enemy forces in Burma. It is imperative that, be the circumstances 
what they may, a division or more of our strength be so dispatched, as I directed in the 
first place. . . . l4 

On the 12th he again ordered the reinforcement of two key points within 
the British sector. 15 On the 15th the Generalissimo wrote: 

. . . The British force moreover are now in a hopeless position and to reinforce them 
by a division will not avail to maintain their lines. They will not wait until our forces have 
fought a decisive action at Pyinmana but will voluntarily abandon their positions and retreat 
to the Western bank of the Irrawaddy river. In view of this certainty our forces must quickly 
frame new plans for independent action without reference to the movements of the British 
forces. . . , 16 

This passage is certainly clear enough even if contradictory of the order three 
days before. On 20 April the Generalissimo reversed himself once again and 
ordered Stilwell to rescue the British. 17 As a result of these reversals and the 
physical impossibility of moving divisions about at that rate, when the British 
did take their stand on the line Minhla-Taungdwingyi to the right flank of 
the Chinese, there were no Chinese to help them in their attempt to hold a 
forty- mile front with 10,000 men and thirty-six guns. 18 

13 (1) Roberts' Journal, p. 21. (2) First Burma Campaign, a diary of the campaign kept by Col. 
Willard G. Wyman, 6 April 1942. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (Hereafter, Wyman Diary.) 
14 Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, Lo, and Tu, 10 Apr 42. SNF-12. 
n Ltr, Generalissimo to unnamed addressee [Lin Wei], 12 Apr 42. SNF-12. 

16 Ltr, Generalissimo to Lo, 15 Apr 42, Incl to Lo's account of the Burma Campaign. SNF— 12. 

17 Ltr, Generalissimo to unnamed addressee [Lin Wei], 20 Apr 42. Folder, CKS Corresp, First 
Burma Campaign, Stilwell Personal Papers. 

18 Normal divisional organization called for 9 infantry battalions; at this time the 17th Indian 
Division included the remnants of 17. The 1st Burma Division with 7 weak battalions was badly 
understrength, but received 3 battalions from the 17th and 1 from the 7th Armored Brigade before 
it reached the Yenangyaung oil fields. Rad, New Delhi 49, 31 Mar 42. Stilwell Documents, 
Hoover Library. The Japanese had three regiments plus artillery, perhaps 15,000 men. Though 
the odds were not impossible, the defenders did not yet appreciate the importance of aggressive 
patrolling and co-ordinated attacks. Consequently, the Japanese could move almost at willthrough 
the gaps on the long front. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



125 



The Collapse of the Irrawaddy Front 

The 17th Indian Division, less the 48th Brigade, held Taungdwingyi, a 
prepared position. At the other end of the line the 2d Burma Brigade was in 
Minhla, and four brigades in the center were to operate as a striking force. By 
a clever ruse, the Japanese opened a hole near the western end of the line. In 
trying to plug that breach, the imperial forces in the center of the line inclined 
westward, also opening a hole. This was very apparent to British commanders 
on the spot, who decided to accept the gap, to move the 1st Burma Division 
back on the great Yenangyaung oil fields, but at all costs to hold Taungdwingyi, 
the link with the Chinese. On the night of the 15 th word was received that 
some 2,000 Japanese were bypassing the 1st Burma Division and heading 
north, undoubtedly toward Yenangyaung. 19 

Moving unobserved by the 1st Burma Division, the 214th Regiment, plus 
the 2d Mountain Artillery Battalion, established itself around the ford of the 
Pin Chaung, north of Yenangyaung, believed to be the only suitable exit for 
motor transport in the area. Beginning at 0100 on 15 April, shortly before the 
Japanese revealed their presence, the great Yenangyaung oil fields were burned 
on General Slim's order. At midnight of the l6-17th the Japanese opened fire 
on advanced elements of the Burma Division, whose main body was then 
twelve miles to the south, making the dreaded road block again a grim reality. 
The block was reported to corps headquarters, and arrangements were made 
through corps headquarters on the night of the 17th for co-operation with the 
Chinese 38th Division, 66th Army. Once the 38th Division was intended for 
the defense of Mandalay. But in compliance with the Generalissimo's 10 April 
order, it had moved toward the Irrawaddy as of 12 April to strengthen the link 
between the two armies, and so its 113th Regiment was now within marching 
distance. 20 

Maj. Gen. Sun Li-jen, the 38th Division commander and a graduate of the 
Virginia Military Institute, took personal command of the operations, sup- 
ported by the tanks and artillery of the 7th Armored Brigade Group that had 
crossed the Pin Chaung Ford before the Japanese opened fire. The first phase 
of the Burma Division's attack on 18 April went according to plan and carried 
it to the outskirts of the little suburb north and east of Yenangyaung where 
the roads of the area converge for the ford. There the attack bogged down, 
with the Indian, Burmese, and British troops exhausted by days of marching 
and fighting in heat of over 110° F. Sun left Kyaukpadaung the night of the 
17th to relieve the trapped Burma Division. Unfortunately for hopes of a 

,9 (1) Foucar, Ch. 17. (2) Roberts' Journal, pp. 14, 18-21. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 
36-43. (4) SEATIC Bull 245, 5 Oct 46, sub: History of Japanese 15th Army, pp. 24-25. 

20 (1) Foucar, p. 158. (2) Belden, Retreat with Stilwell, p. 107. (3) Roberts' Journal, pp. 21-22. 
(4) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, App. A. (5) Wyman Diary, 16 Apr 42. 
(6) The Stilwell Papers, p. 83. (7) Stilwell Diary, 12 Apr 42. 



126 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



speedy rescue, he had been informed it was in a perimeter on the main high- 
way just north of Yenangyaung. The Chinese attack of the 18th cleared a large 
section of the Pin Chaung by 1000 but went no further. At 1700 Slim urged the 
38th Division to attack again, but it refused to do so without further recon- 
naissance. Sun remarked to Merrill at the time that every Allied action in 
Burma to date had failed for lack of proper reconnaissance and that he was not 
minded to repeat the error. 21 Far to the south the 17th Indian Division demon- 
strated against the rear and flank of the Japanese force, sending out two 
columns, each of a battalion of infantry and a squadron of tanks, which the 
Japanese ignored. Within the perimeter of the Burma Division, the situation 
was now grave, and late on the 18th General Scott asked permission to 
abandon his transport and to make his way across country, a request refused 
on the grounds that the Chinese would soon appear. 22 

The Chinese attacked into Yenangyaung at 0800 on 19 April, expecting to 
meet the Burma Division there. Instead, they found the Japanese entrenched 
in five strong points. By 1130 three were taken, but there was no contact with 
the exhausted Burma Division. That force had managed to hold during the 
night of the 18-19th, though to the south it was now in contact with elements 
of the 215th Regiment. An attack toward the ford in the morning made little 
progress, and some of the troops were demoralized. Another attack planned for 
later in the morning was canceled for fear it might lead to an inadvertent clash 
with the Chinese. Unknown to the Burma Division, a renewed Chinese attack 
by 1500 was making steady progress. To meet it, the Japanese shifted some of 
their men, leaving a gap. Consequently, when the tanks with the Burma Divi- 
sion were finally ordered to leave the road and look for a way out to the east 
over the oxcart tracks, at about 1300 they reported an unguarded track, and by 
using it, a part of the Burma Division with some tanks and vehicles was able 
to escape to the north. About 1600 under the force of the Chinese attack the 
Japanese fell back to the south and east, and the rest of the division was with- 
drawn over the black-top road. For its escape the division paid with most of 
its motor transport, its 40-mm. antiaircraft guns, most of its 3-inch mortars, 
eight cannon, four tanks, and 20 percent casualties. 23 StilwelPs action in send- 
ing the 38th Division to aid the British and guard his flank satisfied the 
Generalissimo: "I have received the news of the Yenangyaung trouble. The oil 
fields are lost. We must make our own plans— immediately move the best 
troops to crush the enemy's left. . . ." 24 

As a result of these setbacks along the Irrawaddy, which threatened his right 



21 (1) Foucar, pp. 161-64. (2) Belden, Retreat with Stilwell, pp. 133-51. 

22 (1) Foucar, pp. 164, 168. (2) The Campaign in Burma, p. 48. (3) Stilwell understood the 
17th Division's demonstration to be a major thrust against the 33d Division's rear. Stilwell Diary, 
18 Apr 42. 

23 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 48-50. (2) Belden, Retreat with Stilwell, pp. 152, 160-64. 
(3) Roberts' Journal, pp. 21-22. (4) Foucar, pp. 164-65, 167. 

24 Ltr, Generalissimo to unknown addressee, 20 Apr 42. Stilwell Personal Papers. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



127 



flank, Stilwell had to abandon his cherished plan for the Pyinmana battle 
though he hoped the Allies could reorganize their forces and form new lines. 
The Irrawaddy defeats were no surprise to him; several days before the Battle 
of Yenangyaung he reported the British forces were near exhaustion and col- 
lapse, but if they could hold a few days more he would counterattack from 
Pyinmana. He thought the general situation critical and the British command 
discouraged. Stilwell thought it probable the Allies would be "back in the 
hills" by 10 May. 25 The mishaps of the 1st Burma Division and the resulting 
threat to Stilwell's flank and rear required immediate emergency measures, so 
he ordered the Chinese 200th Division to Meiktila (18 April) to fill the 60-mile 
gap to his right and rear. Tu accepted the order; then he did nothing to execute 
it. Not yet aware of this, Stilwell concluded that the Japanese had overextended 
themselves in the Irrawaddy and decided that he might make a virtue of the 
necessity by falling on the 33d Division with his 22d, 200th, and 38th Divisions 
while the 17th Indian Division attacked Magwe. He also thought only two 
enemy regiments were on the Sittang front. After being quickly worked out 
with Alexander, Slim, and Tu, the plan was ordered on the 19th with great 
hopes of a real success. On the 20th it was canceled, and Tu's action forgotten 
for the time, because it became clear that one more disaster had befallen the 
Allies in Burma. 26 

The Japanese Drive to Lasbio 

In the account of the campaign so far, the two great corridors into northern 
Burma have figured prominently. There were still other routes to the north 
which Stilwell's staff described as permitting a Japanese attack directly on 
Lashio. These were the many tracks and the principal road north through the 
Shan States. Here the Chinese 6th Army (General Kan) was deployed, with the 
Temporary- 5 5th Division (1st, 2d, 3d Regiments) along the Mawchi-Htu- 
chaung-Bawlake-Loikaw Road, the 49th Division at Mong Pan, and the 93d 
Division at Kengtung. As yet there had been only border skirmishes, though 
on occasion they made screaming headlines in the American press, and the 6th 
Army had contributed nothing to the campaign in central Burma despite 
attempts by Stilwell to use the Temporary-55th Division at Toungoo. What 
held the 6th Army in the Shan States was the belief that there were some 50,000 
Siamese and Japanese troops in northern Thailand, including two Japanese 

25 (1) Stilwell told the Generalissimo that Yenangyaung was the sole cause of the abandonment 
of the Pyinmana plan and the subsequent Chinese withdrawal, not any action of the Chinese. 
Madame Chiang to Currie, quoting Stilwell's radio, Maymyo 68, 19 April 1942, verbatim. 
WDCSA 384 (4-28—42). The message is also quoted in The Campaign in Burma, p. 44. (2) 
CM-IN 4660, Stilwell to Marshall, 15 Apr 42. (3) Rad, Stilwell to SEGAC (The Generalissimo's, 
radio call station Chungking), 18 Apr 42. Stilwell Personal Papers. 

26 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 45-46. (2) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London 
Gazette, pars. 36, 45, 46. (3) Wyman Diary, 19 Apr 42. (4) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 89-90. (5) 
Stilwell Diary, 17, 18, 19 Apr 42. 



128 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



divisions. 27 Actually, the only major Japanese unit in the whole of Indochina 
and Thailand was the 21st Division, at Hanoi, French Indochina. In early 1942 
the Japanese held those countries with small garrison forces. 

The British liaison officer with the 6th Army invited Kan's attention to the 
scattered state of his divisions and the absence of a central reserve. The proposal 
to remedy these defects bogged down in administrative formalities, Kan saying 
that higher authority had made the dispositions, which he could not change, 
and when he agreed that the matter should be referred to Headquarters, Army 
in Burma, that body replied no Japanese threat was anticipated. This was an 
unfortunate state of affairs because the Temporary- 5 5th Division was the princi- 
pal obstacle to the revised Japanese plan for the encirclement and annihilation 
of Burma's defenders. 28 Since a Chinese document taken at Toungoo said the 
principal Chinese forces would seek a decisive engagement south of Mandalay, 
the Japanese decided to make a final revision of their operational plan to aim 
at a gigantic encirclement of Burma's defenders south of Mandalay and Lashio. 
The revised 15th Army operational plan, issued at Toungoo on 3 April, called 
for the use of all its divisions, directing the 56th on Lashio, the 18th and 55th 
on the east and west suburbs of Mandalay respectively, and the 33d up along 
the Irrawaddy's banks, sending one element to the Mandalay plain and another 
to Bhamo. For its mission the 56th Division was heavily reinforced with the 
14th Tank Regiment and two battalions of artillery and was made mobile by the 
attachment of ample motor transport. If weather permitted, airborne troops 
would seize Lashio. 29 The Japanese thus aimed at a double envelopment. 
Lashio was the goal, for its capture, cutting the Burma Road, would go far to 
isolate China and to prevent a retreat by the Chinese forces in Burma. 

When the Chinese company garrisoning Mawchi was driven out during the 
first week in April, the encircling Japanese column moved on in its attempt to 
cut the Burma Road and force on Burma's defenders the alternatives of sur- 
render or flight through the jungles and mountains. At first there was no great 
concern felt; the Japanese force seemed small. But it moved east and north 
steadily, defeating a Chinese regiment, which had to be ordered to withdraw 
and reorganize. 30 

27 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 30, 33, 28, 11. (2) The Stilwell Papers, v?. 69, 71, 74. 

(3) Colonel Aldrich, the American liaison officer with the 6th Army, tells or attempting to 
persuade Kan to move. (4) Supply and Evacuation Plan for a Withdrawal, 4 Apr 42. Stilwell 
Misc Papers, 1942. This paper lists a drive through the Shan States as second among Japanese 
capabilities. 

28 (1) French Indochina and Thailand Order of Battle Review, 1 Oct 45. MID Library. (2) 
The Stilwell Papers, pp. 85-87. (3) Brig John F. Bowerman, British Ln Off with 6th Army, Notes 
on Duties with the Chinese Expeditionary Force, Combat Rpts and Misc Ln Off's Rpts. (Here- 
after, Bowerman.) Albacore Hist File, Northern Combat Area Command Files, KCRC. (4) 
Interv with Col Aldrich, 1948. HIS 330.14 CBI 1948. Colonel Aldrich knew Brigadier Bowerman, 
whose report is cited above, and considered him an excellent soldier and a careful observer. 

29 (1) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (2) Japanese Study 94, Ch. VI. 

30 (1) Wyman Diary, 6 Apr 42. (2) Bowerman. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 34-35. 

(4) Roberts' Journal, pp. 13-14. (5) Foucar, pp. 198-99. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



129 



The Generalissimo was disturbed when he received word of this, and wrote 
Stilwell on 8 April : 

Special attention must be given to the enemy forces in the Mawchi sector. If they are a 
regiment in strength it would seem that our division under Gen. Ch'en Mien-wu will not 
be equal to the task of repulsing them single-handed. It is my view that if the enemy is not 
genuinely taking the offensive against the center of the 5th Army a detachment of mecha- 
nized troops with tanks and mounted artillery {sic'] should be despatched to assist General 
Ch'en's division in destroying the enemy forces at Mawchi. The security of our rear may thus 
be safe-guarded. This will certainly be the soundest course. 

The effect of this was lost by his writing the following day: 

... At the moment we must give our whole attention to the concentration of the 5th 
Army's strength in preparation for a decisive battle at Pyinmana. It would be best for whole 
or half of the British tank strength to be moved to support our center. In this way we could 
be sure of success. ... 31 

At StilwelPs headquarters, his G-2, Colonel Roberts, had been for some 
days concerned over his inability to locate the third regiments of the 33d and 
55th Divisions. When the Chinese reported this series of contacts on the east 
flank of the Allies' central concentration, Roberts was alarmed. Because of the 
pressure under which Stilwell was then working, Roberts had to raise the issue 
at mess, suggesting that this was one of the missing regiments and that its goal 
was Lashio. Stilwell immediately appreciated the menace and called a confer- 
ence with Tu and their staffs on 9 April. 

. . . The estimate of the Japanese strength and plans was that Japs would advance in 
3 columns from West and East: Prome-Magwe; Toungoo-Pyinmana; and Bawlake- 
Taunggyi, with Mandalay as their objective; flank columns to provide double 
pincers. . . . 32 

It was an excellent estimate of the Japanese plan. To counter it, the 93d Divi- 
sion less one regiment would close on the Temporary- 5 5th Division; the 49th 
Division plus one regiment of the 93d Division would continue to watch the 
Thailand border; the 66th Army would mass below Mandalay as rapidly as 
possible, and the Pyinmana plan would go on as before. Orders for the con- 
centration were put into the cumbrous and unwieldy Chinese staff machine. 33 

31 (1) Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, 8 Apr 42, appended to Lo's account of the First Burma 
Campaign. SNF-12. (2) Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, 9 Apr 42. SNF-12. 
52 Wyman Diary, 9 Apr 42. 

55 (1) Interv with Col Roberts, 4 Dec 46. (2) The Campaign in Burma, p. 39. (3) Foucar, 
p. 198. (4) After the war the Japanese gave their plan as: 

"The 36th Division will leave Loikaw on 20 April and advance through Laihka to the vicinity 
of Lashio in order to cut off the enemy retreat and prepare for the next operation. . . . The 
18th Division will start from the east side of the Toungoo— Mandalay railway and advance to the 
eastern part of Mandalay and cut off the Mandalay— Lashio road. . . . The 53th Division will 
advance to the southwest part of Mandalay by first defeating the enemy west of the Toungoo- 
Mandalay railway, to smash the enemy main force at the Irrawaddy River. . . . The main tody 
of the 33d Division will advance from the east bank area of the Irrawaddy River to the vicinity 
of Myingyan. It will then advance to defeat the enemy main force in the vicinity of Mandalay 
by outflanking the right wing of the enemy." 

Japanese Study 88. 



130 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



On 11 April Stilwell visited the 6th Army, where it was now known a Jap- 
anese blow would fall though incomplete order of battle data on the Japanese 
led to a very serious underestimate of its weight. 

Chen Li-wu "just pulling back, of course (Better place to fight).'' Jap strength can't be 
greater than 2,000. 55th is to fight in Bawlake area, seriously. 3d Regt to come down at once. 
By PM, 11th, one regiment in Bawlake (less one bn and one co) and one regt in position 
at Mei Chaung. Ch'en says he will counterattack from west . . . 55th has about 6,500 men. 
200th has 6,125. 38th has 7,500—1,750 per regt plus 2,500. 55th has ten TM's [trench 
mortars} per regt plus 50 rds. 34 

After Stilwell's visit to the 6th Army front and at his insistence Lo repri- 
manded Kan. Stilwell also wanted General Chen relieved. Drafting his notes 
to Lo, Stilwell wrote: 

I recommend that General Kan, CG, 6th Army be reprimanded. 

1. He does not control the actions of his division commanders. 

2. He has moved, without orders, units under the control of the Zone Commander. 

3. He does not keep sufficiently informed about the military situation, or the care and 
supply of his troops. 

I recommend that Gen. Ch'en Li-wu, CG of the 55 th Division, be relieved of command 
at once. 

1. He has no control over his division. 

2. He has already withdrawn, without orders, before an inferior Jap force, and need- 
lessly given up vital ground. 

3. He has shown no disposition to obey his strict orders to attack and re-take Mawchi, 
but instead has taken a defensive stand with six battalions opposed by only one battalion 
of the enemy. 35 

Though the Temporary- 5 5 th Division was in a poor state, untrained, poorly 
organized and disciplined, its units strung out along the road in bivouac areas 
with no preparations for defense, Chen was not relieved. 36 

Stilwell apparently checked the 6th Army sector still further by calling in 
the commander of the 49th Division for consultation. The Chinese reported 
his front quiet, and Stilwell noted: "Front apparently well covered. . . ." 37 
AVG aircraft and pilots were brought up for an attempt at reconnaissance. 38 

When the movement orders finally were delivered on 13 April, the 93d 
Division would not obey them and was supported in this by Kan, both insist- 
ing that trucks be furnished. Vehicles were so few, and the drivers so terrified 
of the Chinese, that thirty days would be needed to move the division a 
distance it could march in eight. Area headquarters for the Southern Shan 
States was not helpful, refusing to give troop movements priority over back- 

34 Stilwell Diary, 11 Apr 42. 

35 (1) These recommendations are undated and are in Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. (2) The 
Stilwell Papers, p. 87. 

36 (1) Bowerman. (2) Interv with Aldrich. HIS 330.14 CBI 1948. 

37 Stilwell Diary, 12 Apr 42. 

38 Wyman Diary, 12, 14, 15 Apr 42. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



131 



loading rations until Alexander's headquarters approved. Subsequent negotia- 
tions were complicated by the diversion of trucks by still other Chinese 
authorities. Compounding the failure, Stilwell's headquarters and liaison 
officers were unaware that the 93d Division was not moving. 39 When the 93d 
Division finally began to move, it was too late to affect the issue. The 49th 
Division was not ordered west until the 20th. 40 

While these attempts were being made to bring aid to the Temporary-55th 
Division, its 1st Regiment, which was falling back after its earlier defeat by 
the Japanese, was overtaken by them and further punished, while the 2d 
Regiment, Temporary- 5 5 th Division, which had been moving south, was taking 
up defensive positions on the Htu Chaung Creek. Here followed a brief pause 
in which the Temporary-55th Division was content to remain passive in 
bivouac along the road. The Chinese troops were suffering severely from thirst, 
and the energetic British liaison mission with the 6th Army tried to bring 
down truckloads of fresh water. This ended when the Chinese promptly confis- 
cated the trucks. Colonels McCabe and Aldrich, Stilwell's liaison team with the 
6th Army, pleaded with Kan to counterattack, or at least to patrol aggressively. 
They had no success, and a strange sort of truce settled on the battlefield. The 
Japanese put it to good advantage. 41 While the Temporary-55th remained pas- 
sively in bivouac, the 56th Division sent company after company toiling 
through the woods parallel to the road on which the Chinese camped. 

A frontal attack on the Htu Chaung on 16 April was followed on the 17th 
by attacks from the flanking companies along the full forty miles of road from 
the Htu Chaung north. By morning of the 19th one Japanese element was a 
few miles south of Loikaw and was joined in an hour by a battalion which had 
marched diagonally across the mountains from Toungoo. 42 Under these attacks 
from front, side, and rear, the Temporary-55th Division simply disintegrated, 
its soldiers fleeing to the hills. The two battalions of the 93d Division, the first 
part of the long-awaited reinforcements from the east, turned about and re- 
turned whence they had come. The road to Lashio was open to the exultant 
Japanese. Communication between the Temporary-55th Division and the 6th 
Army ceased on the night of 18 April; the division was no longer a fighting 
unit. 43 Unaware as yet of the Temporary- 5 5th Division's collapse, Stilwell 
wrote, "Col. Chiang will start them if they have not yet jumped off. 1st 
objective, Mawchi; 2d objective, Toungoo." 44 

}9 (1) Bowerman. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 39, 5 3, 63. (3) McCabe's and Aldrich's 
reports reached Stilwell through British signals to Maymyo. (4) Memo, Boatner, 30 Jul 42, sub: 
Rpt on Some Activities of 93d Div in Burma. SNF-21. 

40 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 53, 63, 50. (2) Foucar, p. 199. (3) Memo cited n. 39(4). 

41 Bowerman. 

42 (1) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (2) Map, Japanese Study 100, Annex 5. 

4} (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 40, 52. (2) The Chinese Army in Burma. MIS Folder, 
Burma Campaign, MID Library. (3) Foucar, p. 199. (4) Roberts' Journal, p. 23. (5) Ltr, Aldrich 
to Sunderland, with notes, 18 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. 

44 Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. 



132 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Attempts To Prevent the Debacle 

The collapse of the Temporary- 5 5th Division and the failure to stem the 
Japanese in the Irrawaddy forced the complete recasting of Allied plans. One 
last attempt was made to save north Burma. Surveying the problems involved 
in trying to command part of a coalition army of races and nationalities drawn 
from the British Isles, India, Burma, and China and highly frustrated by the 
difficulties he faced with the Chinese, Stilwell tore off a page of copy paper and 
appraised his situation as follows: 

Yesterday, April 19, Lo Cho-ying went up to Maymyo without notifying me. Lin Wei 
had phoned him that he had an important letter (CKS, of course). Lo did not dare hesitate. 
We had just arranged the general plan of attack and everything was apparently agreed upon. 
(Incidentally, all of our measures conformed to the provisions of the letter.) Today we 
learned that the 55th was smashed and the Japs already far north of Loikaw. I directed Yang 
to order Kan to bring up a regiment of the 49th to Loilem and block off, also to order the 
2 2d to the Pyawbwe-Thazi area, with one regiment directed on Kalaw (the 22d has not yet 
appeared at Yamethin). Tonight, news comes that the 96th is in trouble at Kyiddaunggan. 
I am sending Sibert down to investigate. The 200th is moving to Kyaukpadaung. The 1 14th 
Infantry [Regiment, 38th Division] is moving to Taungtha. The 113th [Infantry Regiment, 
38th Division] is coming back to Kyaukpadaung. Slim wants to withdraw the Burdiv [1st 
Burma Division] and the Mcz Brig [7th Armored Brigade]. (I am objecting to latter save 
piecemeal.) 

Meanwhile, Tu goes to Kyaukpadaung, and there is no one to direct the 96th and 22d. 
Lo goes to Maymyo and there is no one to direct the 6th Army. Lo confers with Alexander 
and Lin Wei and I do not know what they have decided to do. Slim wants to turn the whole 
thing over to Tu, and so does Alexander. Somebody has to control the mess and I am the 
goat. Lo sends word by Chiang that he has decided to go to Kyaukse because the phone 
service is good, and asks me to go up there, tomorrow night. He may not or does not know 
even now what is happening to the 6th Army and the 96th Division. What I have ordered 
may be the exact opposite of instructions he may be putting out. I have sent Chiang to get 
him and bring him back here at once, urgent. 

This is another sample of long-range command and army politics. If CKS continues his 
tactical masterpieces, the mess will merely get worse. It is an impossible situation, which I 
will have to see through as best I may. CKS has made it impossible for me to do anything, 
and I might as well acknowledge it now. 45 

Stil well's countermeasures to block the Japanese drive to Lashio should be 
appraised against the persistent belief that the Japanese task force was a small 
one. As late as 21 April, Stil well's G-2 considered it was a reinforced battalion 
of the Japanese 35th Division that had moved on Mawchi. Colonel Roberts 
further believed that the 18th Division was in Thailand (whereas it was now 
on the Sittang front). It was more than ever probable, Colonel Roberts 
thought, that the Japanese in Burma had been reinforced, but he admitted 
that he did not know if the 18th Division had moved. 46 

Stilwell's further reaction was to order the 200th Division to Taunggyi 

45 Ibid. 

46 Memo, Roberts for Stilwell, 21 Apr 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



133 



to attack the Japanese in the Loikaw-Loi-lem area. This forced the abandon- 
ment of the attempt to hit the Japanese 33d Division at Yenangyaung. "First 
priority, plug the Loikaw break!" 47 A concentration of the 49th and 93d Divi- 
sions on the Temporary- 5 5th Division had already been ordered. In the Sittang 
valley the 96th Division was ordered to delay the Japanese for one week. The 
17th Indian Division was now falling back on Meiktila. Three days later, on 
the 25th, a conference was held between Alexander, Stilwell, Lo, and Slim, 
at which they laid plans for a concentration before Lashio and for the motor- 
ized 200th Division to sweep up behind the Japanese task force that was racing 
for Lashio. This plan accorded well with StilwelPs earlier orders and was based 
on them. The Mandalay concentration was successfully completed. 48 The 96th 
Division continued in the delaying role earlier intended to cover the counter- 
attack at Yenangyaung, and it held back the Japanese while the 17th Indian 
Division, 7th Armored Brigade, and the 22d Division took positions around 
Meiktila and Thazi. In so doing, the 96th Division suffered heavy losses in a 
series of actions climaxed when Japanese tanks caught the whole division on 
the road on 24 April. From Meiktila north to the Mandalay area, the several 
brigades of the 17th Indian Division, the 22d Division, and a regiment of the 
38th Division, with invaluable assistance from the 7th Armored Brigade, 
covered one another in a series of leapfrogging movements under pressure 
from both the 18 th and 55 th Divisions. 49 

To the east four Chinese divisions were maneuvering, and to the south the 
Chinese 5th Army Command (200th Division, reinforced) was on its way to 
Taunggyi. Two of the four divisions (49th, 93d) had been in the Shan States 
when the first attempts to keep the Japanese from Lashio were being made. 
The 93d, as noted earlier, began its march west after some delay but on learn- 
ing of the defeats in the west turned about and returned to Kengtung. The 
49th Division was sent west on 20 April from its post ninety miles from 
Taunggyi and moved so fast that on the 21st it was in contact with the Jap- 
anese. The subsequent engagement, of minor nature, did not affect later 
events. 50 

On 23 April the 6th Army's commander forbade the now-assembled 49th 
Division to attack and ordered it withdrawn. The 49th Division commander, 
Gen. Peng Pi-shen, was infuriated by the order. He was ready to attack, knew 
that the 200th Division was attacking Taunggyi from the west and that it was 
to go on to Loi-lem. A juncture of the 200th and 49th Divisions behind the 
Japanese Lashio-bound task force could have great results. Peng and his chief 
of staff discussed open disobedience, tried for three hours to reach General 

47 Stilwell Diary, 21 Apr 42. 

48 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 52-55, 63-64. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 90-92. 
49 (1) Roberts' Journal, pp. 22, 24-26, 27-30. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 54, 57, 59, 
60-71. (3) Burmarmy Sitrep, 29 Apr 42. (4) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (5) Foucar, pp. 173-80. 
50 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 53, 64, 74. (2) Foucar, p. 201. 



134 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Kan by radio, and, finally, slowly complied with the order. This excellent divi- 
sion never had a chance to display its worth in battle, but it retreated to China 
in good order. 51 At the time this withdrawal was not known to Stilwell or Lo. 

Of the three divisions of the 66th Army then entering Burma, the 38th 
Division had already been in combat and done very well. The 29th Division 
was marching in down the Burma Road and its leading regiment entered 
Lashio on 29 April, the day the city fell. The 28th Division was in the 
Mandalay area and on 22 April was ordered to take positions across the roads 
south of Lashio. There was confusion on the railways, confusion further 
compounded by changes in the movement orders of the 28th Division. As a 
result, six days later on the night of 28-29 April, the three regiments of the 
28th Division were strung out all the way from Maymyo to a point just south 
of Lashio. Thus, of the nine Chinese divisions in Burma, several took very 
little part in the operations culminating in the fall of Lashio. But at the time 
this was not reported to Stilwell and Lo, who accordingly could not intervene 
and complete the concentration to defend Lashio. One reason for the failure 
to move divisions was that Stilwell could not get lend-lease trucks from the 
Chinese authorities in Lashio with which to move troops. Asked to provide 
150 trucks of the 850 then in Lashio, they sent 22. 52 

Colonel Boatner called on the AVG to help stem the Japanese rush to 
Lashio. In response, they flew strafing missions on the 24th and 25th, burning 
a number of gasoline trucks caught on the open road and attacking a Japanese 
troop convoy. Through an error later attributed to General Lin Wei of the 
Chinese General Staff Mission to Burma, who was believed to have furnished 
the AVG with inaccurate data on the location of Chinese troops, the AVG also 
strafed some Chinese units." 

Generals Stilwell and Lo were with the 200th Division when it was rushed 
from the Meiktila area to retake Taunggyi. For this operation the 1st and 2d 
Reserve Regiments were attached; the task force was designated 5th Army 
Command and placed under General Tu. The critical importance of speed had 
been stressed, but when the 5th Army Command encountered the Japanese 
outposts near Taunggyi, it promptly halted. These were the security detach- 
ments of the Taunggyi garrison, one Japanese battalion. On arriving next 
morning, the 25th, at 1030, Stilwell found the 5th Army Command still halted 
and ordered an immediate attack. Contact was made with a few more Japanese 
at 1130, and by afternoon a little more distance had been gained, whereupon 
Lo ordered Tu to take Taunggyi that day or suffer the consequences, with a 
reward of 50,000 rupees to the troops if the town fell. In the late afternoon of 



51 Memo citec n. 39(4). 

"(1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 41, 53, 54, 64, 74. (2) Roberts' Journal, pp. 24-26. (3) 
Foucar, pp. 171-201. (4) The Brereton Diaries, p. 124. (5) Wyman Diary, 26 Apr 42. 

"(1) The Campaign in Burma, p. 64. (2) Int Summary, AVG Activities for Apr 42, AVG 
Hq. AVG File, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



135 



the 25 th Taunggyi was finally taken from its small Japanese garrison. Gather- 
ing momentum, the 200th Division reached Loi-lem on the 29th. From that 
area it later began its retreat to China. 54 

Lashio fell in the early afternoon of 29 April to the 148th Regiment after a 
5 -hour battle. Another Japanese regiment quickly followed into the city. 
Colonel Boatner had tried to slow the Japanese by destroying the bridges to 
the south. Two Chinese battalions had made a stand across the roads below 
Lashio, but these efforts only gained a few hours. Boatner and his British col- 
leagues had destroyed what they could, but the Japanese gained 44,000 tons of 
arsenal stores, some of which were repossessed three years later. As many 
women and children as possible were flown out. 55 

Plans for the Future 

Alexander's and StilwelPs problems at this point in the campaign fell nat- 
urally into three parts. Only the first two were similar for both commanders. 
Each had to conserve his forces as far as possible. Both were ordered to protect 
communications across north Burma from India to China. But Alexander's 
further responsibilities lay toward India, whereas StilwelPs mission was to 
support China. StilwelPs thoughts in the latter days of the campaign, up to 
the time when the Japanese cut him off from the north, were shaped by the 
concerns he shared with Alexander, plus the plan he conceived in early April 
to carry out his mission to China. 

On 16 April Brig. Gen. William R. Gruber, who had been representing 
Stilwell in India in conferences with Brereton and with Wavell's headquarters, 
received from Stilwell an order to go from Burma to Chungking to present 
StilwelPs Proposal to Organize and Train a Chinese Force in India. 56 Framed 
during the perils and problems of the First Burma Campaign, the plan molded 
all of StilwelPs later proposals. The project was presented to the Generalissimo 
on 27 April. 57 

Acting as the Generalissimo's chief of staff, Stilwell warned the General- 
issimo in his proposal that the Japanese would probably interrupt any road or 
airline across north Burma that might become operative in the near future. 
This would isolate China from the lend-lease stores accumulating in India. 
To counter this, Stilwell proposed moving about 100,000 Chinese soldiers to 
India to equip them with lend-lease and train them into an elite corps from 

54 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 52, 58, 62, 67, 75, 83. (2) Stilwell Diary, 23, 25 Apr 42. 

"(1) The Campaign in Burma, p. 74. (2) Foucar, p. 74. (3) Ltr, Boatner to CG AAF CBI, 
13 May 42, sub: Incidents Prior to and Immediately Following Fall of Lashio (April 20—29, 42). 
HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. (4) Ltr, Boatner to Chief, HD SSUSA, 14 Nov 47. HIS 330.14 CBI 1947. 

56 Stilwell Diary, 16 Apr 42. 

57 Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 27 Apr 42, sub: Proposal to Organize and Train a Chinese 
Force in India. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. General Gruber opened and ended the 
proposal with a note that this was not presented as coming from the U.S. or British Governments. 



136 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



which an improved Chinese Army could grow. The Chinese force would be 
organized into two corps of three divisions each. 
Stilwell's command provisions were interesting: 

5. Selection of Commanders and Personnel.— Selection of Chinese officers up to the grade 
of regimental commander, non-commissioned officers, and men to be made in accordance 
with policies personally dictated by the Generalissimo so as to insure the availability of 
personnel of the highest type suitable to handle the technical equipment involved. Carefully 
selected Chinese officers will be used from the outset in all grades up to and including 
regimental commander. Higher commanders and principal staff officers initially to be 
American officers until such time as Chinese officers can be substituted. 

To move these men to India, Stilwell proposed they be concentrated about 
Kunming in order to begin their move about 15 May 1942. From Kunming 
they would march or be flown across north Burma via Myitkyina-Mogaung- 
Shingbwiyang to Ledo. The immediate and obvious objection to the plan as 
it appears is the difficulty of moving the Chinese troops from China to India. 
Stilwell wrote: "Movement to railheads in India to be made by marching with 
such assistance from highway transport organizations and the U.S. Air Freight 
Line as may be practicable. . . ." Any such marching would have to be done 
during the monsoon rains over dry- weather roads and pack-horse trails. 

How he would use the 100,000 soldiers was tersely stated: 

8. Operation Objectives. — Upon completion of the training of this force estimated between 
4-6 months, operations to be undertaken in the following phases: 

1st Phase— Recapture Burma; the decisive effort to be made from India, a secondary 
effort to be made from China and the northern Shan States. 

2nd Phase— Eject the enemy from Thailand. 

After conferring with General Gruber, the Generalissimo agreed to the 
plan "in general," with a few modifications. The Chinese leader wanted half 
of the senior officers to be Chinese, plus formal assurance from the British and 
U.S. Governments that his troops would not be used to maintain the British 
position in India in the event of civil disturbance there. Gruber concluded his 
message by saying he would fly to Delhi on 3 May to present the project to 
Wavell and Wheeler. 58 

Alexander's plans on 23 April were: 

1. ... to cover the communications between India and China. A withdrawal North of 
Mandalay will cut the LOC [Line of Communications] via the Chindwin, Mandalay, and 
Lashio. In the event of such a withdrawal it will be necessary to cover the broken ends of the 
communications with India and China via the above route and also to cover the projected 
route between India and China via the Hukawng Valley. 

2. In the event of a withdrawal North of Mandalay, all Chinese forces east of the railway 
Mandalay-Pyawbwe are to withdraw to the North and NE for the defence of the Lashio 
Road under the direction of the GOC, Chinese Armies. 59 

58 (1) Gruber told Stilwell of this by a penciled note on lined paper with no date or sender's 
number. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. (2) ". . . Gruber reports complete success of his job. We 
to have complete direction of move (the staff is squabbling a bit)." Stilwell Diary, 29 Apr 42. 

59 Operational Instruction 46, Army in Burma, 23 Apr 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



137 



The order stated that because of the bottleneck in communications at Man- 
dalay and the need to protect the Chindwin and Shwebo routes, British forces 
and the Chinese 38th Division would not become involved in close defense of 
Mandalay. It further directed that Headquarters, Army in Burma, would move 
on the axis Shwebo-Mandalay. 

Below Mandalay the course of the Irrawaddy River placed it directly across 
the Allied line of retreat, and only the Ava Bridge offered a ready crossing, a 
situation which, as the Allied forces crowded against the river, must have 
seemed uncomfortably like that on the Sittang in February. So, on 25 April after 
a conference with Stilwell, Alexander ordered a withdrawal to the north bank 
of the Irrawaddy, to begin that night. On the same day tanks and trucks of the 
5th Army could be seen moving north through Lashio to China, passing troops 
of the 66th Army stolidly moving into Burma. The evacuation of the 5th 
Army was without Stilwell' s orders and was the beginning of the collapse that 
rendered futile any hopes of holding Myitkyina and the trace of the Ledo 
Road. 60 On 26 April Alexander decided that the fall of Lashio would be a 
matter of days. A Japanese thrust from Lashio via Bhamo to Myitkyina would 
make any stand north of Mandalay futile, and so the defense of India would 
have to be his major consideration. 

At a conference on 29 April between Alexander, Stilwell, and Lo, Alex- 
ander decided to hold the line Kalewa-Katha-Bhamo-Hsenwi; failing that, 
he would move the bulk of his troops to India. The 5th Army troops, with the 
22d and 38th Divisions, would delay along the Mandalay-Myitkyina railway, 
while the 96th Division would go directly to Myitkyina. When and if neces- 
sary, Alexander would move his headquarters to Myitkyina as well. Necessary 
supply arrangements were begun. 61 It was Stil well's intention at the time to 
make his next stand in north Burma, so he wrote in his diary on 30 April, "Our 
crowd direct to Myitkyina." He himself planned to go to Loiwing to direct the 
fight to keep some sort of communications open to China. To the War Depart- 
ment he reported on 4 May that Chinese control of their troops was weak and 
collapse seemed near. General Lo and the Chinese quartermaster had left 
Stilwell and his staff to their own devices. He said that he would try to move 
to Myitkyina, but if that failed, he would go west to Imphal in India. 62 Team I 
(or Item) of the seven radio teams that had reached India in March from the 
Java convoy was in Burma, part of it with StilwelPs personal staff, from about 
27 April 1942 to the end of the campaign. This handful of radiomen and 

60 (1) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 47-49. (2) Bowerman. (3) 
The Campaign in Burma, p. 73. 

61 (1) On 27 April 1942 the Chinese received orders from the Generalissimo to fight a mobile 
battle, to stay in Burma, and to hold Kengtung and the Bhamo-Myitkyina area. Lo's account of the 
Burma Campaign. SNF-12. (2) Ltr, Generalissimo to unknown addressee, undated. CKS Corresp, 
Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 93. (4) Alexander Report, Supple- 
ment to The London Gazette, par. 54. (5) Wyman Diary, 30 Apr 42. (6) Stilwell Diary, 29, 30 
Apr 42. 

62 Rad, Stilwell to AG WAR, 4 May 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



138 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Brereton's few B-17's were the only American reinforcements to reach China, 
Burma, and India in time to play any part whatever in the lost campaign. 63 

The Evacuation of Burma 

The withdrawal to the north of the Irrawaddy was covered in its initial 
stages by the 48th Indian Brigade at Kyaukse. Skillful use of artillery and armor 
held off elements of the 18th Division in a well-fought action, and the Japanese 
were kept below the Myitnge River until the bridges were blown. There was 
no Japanese pressure on the 63d Indian Brigade and the Chinese 22d Division 
along the river line, but it was felt that they could not withstand a heavy attack, 
and so they were withdrawn across the Irrawaddy the night of 30 April. The 
great Ava Bridge was destroyed at midnight. Central Burma was now firmly 
held by the Japanese. 64 

The general withdrawal to the line indicated by Alexander on 29 April was 
ordered for 2 May; the Chinese forces in the eastern half of Burma were already 
in full movement back to the Salween River, whose mighty gorge was the 
natural defense line of southwestern China. Stilwell's and Alexander's hopes of 
a stand across north Burma began to vanish as the Chinese streamed out of 
Burma. The aircraft that was to take Stilwell to eastern Burma failed to arrive 
on time, and Loiwing, his intended destination, was evacuated that same day. 
Gradually, Stilwell was being driven to the conclusion that he could exercise 
no control over the Chinese armies and that evacuation of his personal staff 
was his next problem. 

Nevertheless, as of 5 May Stilwell still intended to go to Myitkyina and was 
just a few hours ahead of the 5th Army. On the 4th he had learned that the 
railway was blocked, so he took his party north by motor convoy. On 5 May, 
halting his convoy near Indaw, a railroad station, he and his aides went on 
ahead to inquire about the railway. They were told it was blocked north and 
south of Indaw. Because Japanese were reported at Bhamo, within easy striking 
distance of Myitkyina, Stilwell decided then and there on 5 May not to attempt 
to make his way by car to Myitkyina but instead to take his party due west to 
India, as it would be impossible to reach Myitkyina before the Japanese, who 
occupied it on 8 May. 65 

In marching out to the west, Stilwell could make arrangements for the 
reception in India of his Chinese troops. Stilwell, Lo, and Alexander agreed on 

63 Sgts John and Ward Hawkins, History of the 835th Signal Service Battalion. Gen Ref Br, 
OCMH. 

64 (1) Foucar, pp. 175-80. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 74-75. (3) CM-IN 7935, 
Stilwell to AG WAR, 30 Apr 42. 

65 The entry of 5 May in the Wyman Diary, "Possible presence of Japs at Bhamo dictated 
movement out of Burma via Imphal," with Stilwell's action of the same day in asking about 
a train to Myitkyina, seems to fix 5 May as the date that Stilwell elected to move out of Burma 
to the west. Had he made the decision on the 4th of May, he would not be asking about trains 
north on the 5th. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 96-98. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



139 



30 April that if the plan to hold the line Kalewa-Katha-Bhamo-Hsenwi 
failed, the 5th Army troops plus the 38th Division would march from Katha 
to Imphal. This withdrawal would be the beginning of the plan to put Chinese 
divisions in India and bring them up to strength with replacements and sup- 
porting troops. The 30 April understanding that the Chinese would march 
out to India should now have been in effect, but orders from the Generalissimo 
sent the 96th and 22d Divisions wandering through northern Burma. 66 

The War Department approved Stilwell's withdrawing to India on the 
assumption it was related to his training plan. 67 Indeed, Stilwell's conduct of 
the whole campaign received the approval of the American and Chinese Gov- 
ernments. On 18 April he received a formal commendation from the Secretary 
of War and warm personal greetings came from General Marshall on the 29th 
when the campaign was nearing its dismal close. Madame Chiang sent a long 
cable to Currie saying that the Generalissimo had "entire confidence" in 
Stilwell. 68 In Cabinet session Roosevelt "expressed great satisfaction over 
Stilwell's handling of the whole situation," a sentiment Marshall relayed to 
Stilwell on 12 May. 69 

For the Chinese divisions that went east, the campaign in Burma merged 
into a fight to keep the Japanese out of China; but the Allied forces that with- 
drew into India could halt there without an invading army on their heels. An 
invasion of India was not scheduled, and the 15th Army halted its pursuing 
forces on the borders of India. Alexander's hopes of keeping a foothold in 
Burma had to yield to India Command's belief that it could not maintain his 
forces there. The withdrawing imperial forces had to fight two engagements 
as they fell back. The 215th Regiment, 33d Division, occupied Monywa, across 
the withdrawal route, on 1 May, overrunning the Burma Division head- 
quarters and taking all its code books. The 63d, 13th, and 1st Burma Brigades 
fought their way into town so that the transport could bypass the town on cart 
tracks and head north to Ye-u, where all the tracks for the Chindwin River 
began. 70 The 1st and 2d Burma Brigades made their separate ways to the 
Indian frontier. The rest of the army marched to the river port at Shwegyin 
where it fought off the pursuing 213th Regiment, which came up while embar- 
kation was in progress. 

There were no further interruptions, and the force reached Tamu on 14 May 

66 (1) See n. 57. (2) CM-IN 7490, Stilwell to AGWAR, 28 Apr 42. (3) MacMorland Diary, 
25 Apr 42. (4) The Stilwell Papers, p. 94. (5) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 74, 75. (6) Memo, 
Gruber for Stilwell, 12 May 42. Folder, Operations— Burma Evacuation, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

67 (1) Rad WAR 575, Marshall to Stilwell, 30 Apr 42. Paraphrased in Folder cited n. 66(6). 
(2) CM-IN 1606, Stilwell to Marshall, 6 May 42. 

68 (1) Rad, Marshall to Stilwell, 18 Apr 42. AG 381 (12-19-41). (2) Rad WAR 570, 
Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Apr 42. (3) Rad WAR 336, Marshall to Aquila, 12 May 42. Paraphrased 
in Folder, cited n. 66(6). (4) Cable, Mme. Chiang to Currie, 6 May 42. Folder 19B, OPD 
Exec 10. 

69 Notes after Cabinet Mtg, 1 May 42. WDCSA 334-M, A46-523. 

70 (1) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 55, 61, 62. (2) Japanese 
Study 88, Ch. IV. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 97. 



140 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



as the first rains were falling. It had been a hard march, aggravated by the 
accumulated fatigues of the campaign, by the forbidding terrain, and by the 
presence of refugees fleeing the Japanese terror. The Burma Corps was in no 
shape to withstand an attempted invasion of India. It brought out 10 
25-pounders, 4 antitank guns, 14 3.7-inch mountain guns, and about 80 vehi- 
cles. Of 31 infantry battalions, 5 mountain batteries, 1 field regiment, and 
assorted line of communications troops, some 12,000 exhausted and malarious 
survivors reached India. These units had suffered 13,000 casualties, with 9,000 
missing in action. 71 Unfit for combat as they were, these troops, plus the 1st 
Indian Infantry Brigade and one other battalion and the Chinese 38th Divi- 
sion, were all that guarded the 500-mile frontier of Assam. In Bengal there 
were only the very new 14th and 26th Indian Divisions. 72 

The Chinese Withdrawal 

Of the Chinese divisions, the 22d and the 38th, plus fragments of the 28th, 
96th, and 200th, made their way westward to India. The 5th Army and the 
38th Division moved north together from Mandalay until they reached the 
Indaw-Katha area. On 4 May General Lo received orders from the General- 
issimo sending the 5th Army to Myitkyina. Lo himself had sought to persuade 
Tu to retreat on India. General Sun took counsel of himself, concluded the 
supply situation would be impossible in north Burma, and after making a vain 
appeal to Chungking for guidance, sent his 38th Division to India. After a 
brief engagement with the Japanese, the 38th Division detached the 113th 
Regiment to act as a rear guard. The 113th Regiment seemed trapped for a 
few days but made its way across the Chindwin on 30 May. Of this regiment, 
Colonel Wyman, of Stilwell's staff, wrote: "The story of the 113th is really an 
epic." Its companion regiments, in good condition, reached India on 25 May. 
An incident might have been precipitated by an excitable refugee who advised 
the Governor of Assam that the 38th Division was a "mere rabble" who should 
be disarmed and confined. The governor endorsed this proposal, and General 
Gruber was forced to intercede with General Wavell to prevent such an affront 
to Chinese pride. The Assam tea planters received the Chinese with great cool- 
ness, and there was mutual relief when the 38th Division was sent to 
permanent quarters in Bihar Province. From the First Burma Campaign the 

71 (1) Foucar, Ch. 21, p. 241. (2) Owen, Campaign in Burma, p. 26. (3) The Campaign in 
Burma, p. 76. (4) The Stilwell Papers, p. 97. Many of the missing were dead, who under condi- 
tions of jungle warfare had simply disappeared. Some 3,000 were members of Burmese units, 
many of whom had probably deserted. British and Indian units reported 6,000 missing in action. 
Of these, many were undoubtedly prisoners of war, and a great number of these unfortunates must 
have died in Japanese custody. The enemy was not meticulous in reporting such matters. 

72 Hist Sec (India), India at War, 1939-1943, p. 113. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. The 2d and 5th 
British Divisions arrived in India from the United Kingdom that summer. The latter went to 
the Middle East after a brief stay. A great deal of ordnance was also received from the United 
Kingdom. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



141 



38th Division and its brilliant commander emerged with their reputations 
established. To the tactical feat of Yenangyaung, the gallant and capable Sun 
Li-jen added the unique achievement of bringing his division through the 
Chin Hills as an intact fighting unit with discipline and morale unimpaired. 73 

The Generalissimo's orders for the 5th Army changed again on 18 May, and 
the 5th was ordered to "take position" between Myitkyina and Fort Hertz. 
At one time it had been within a few days' march of the Indian border 
(Manipur State) and safety, before veering north toward China. 74 At this time 
the 5th Army was the 2 2d and 96th Divisions, headquarters and army troops, 
and assorted stragglers. The two divisions parted company. Survivors of the 
22d Division emerged in the Ledo area in July and August, having made good 
their withdrawal over the ghastly "refugee trail." The local British area com- 
mandant estimated that about 30,000 persons essayed the refugee trail, of 
whom 23,000 succeeded. Months later the bones of those who failed were 
whitening the trail, in many places literally so. 

The first civilian refugees and Chinese troops lived off food stores accumu- 
lated for coolies working on the Burma side of the Ledo Road. The local 
Kachin tribesmen were very charitable and gave freely of their stores. When 
these were gone, looting by the refugees began. The American and Royal Air 
Forces dropped food in the Hukawng and Mogaung Valleys on a large scale. 
One hundred and fifty tons of supplies were dropped at Shingbwiyang between 
29 June and 12 August and a total of 132 tons at other points along the trail 
for the 5th Army and 22d Division alone. Colonel Boatner, who surveyed the 
area, believed there was no shortage of food after the Chinese reached Taro. 

The struggle to reach Taro took a heavy toll, and the evacuation of the 
Chinese was caught up in the flood of civilian refugees leaving Burma. Boatner 
reported that Chinese soldiers of the 96th Division looted and murdered 
among the refugees and Kachin tribesmen and that many Chinese officers 
made their men stagger out under useless equipment and displayed incompe- 
tence and callousness in handling the food dropped to them. The discipline of 
the 38th Division and the professional skill of its commander were a striking 
contrast. To alleviate the situation along the refugee trail, Indian authority 
sent officers into Burma from Ledo who improvised crude refugee camps and 
did their best to keep the stream of soldiers and civilian refugees flowing 
steadily into India. Sheer physical exhaustion, heartbreak at the loss of family 
and livelihood, intestinal disease, raw food, and malaria were the principal 
killers. The camp administrators, knowing that the apathetic and indifferent 

7} (1) Ltr, Brig Cawthorn, Dir of Mil Int, GHQ (India) , to Gruber, 15 May 42; (2) Ltr, Gruber 
to Wavell, 16 May 42. Folder, Chinese Army, Trek from Burma, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (3) History 
of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. V, p. 3. (4) Foucar, pp. 189, 201, 203. (5) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 
82-87. (6) Wyman Diary, 8 Jun 42. "Gen. Sun's constant supervision of all matters pertaining 
to his troops is of the highest type." In a letter, Wyman to Stilwell, 17 June 1942, the former 
calls General Sun "a top soldier." Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (7) Lo's account of the Burma Campaign. 
SNF-12. 

74 Chih Hui Pu Diary, p. 2. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 



142 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



would die on the road, bullied and beat the laggards into moving on and 
encouraged and fed the stouthearted. 75 

All that the small group of Americans who had been flown from Burma 
to India could do was act as liaison between the Chinese and British, and 
Brereton's air force. Lacking resources of their own the Americans sometimes 
felt that they were contributing nothing. The AAF could consider it had kept 
the Chinese from perishing miserably in the northern Burma jungles. It alone 
had made possible the amazing march of the 96th Division, which made its 
way to Taro, then turned north to Shingbwiyang and Fort Hertz, from whence 
it made its way through the largely unknown country of northern Burma back 
to China. By its endurance the 96th Division showed some of the very best 
qualities of the Chinese Army, as it had earlier shown some of the worst. 76 

Moving directly to India to arrange for the reception of the Chinese divi- 
sions which he expected to follow him, Stilwell led a heterogeneous group: 
the small staff which he had kept after moving the bulk of his headquarters 
out to China and to Calcutta, the Seagrave ambulance unit with its nineteen 
gallant Burmese nurses, the Friends Ambulance Unit, a Chinese general with 
his bodyguard, a group of British officers, a newspaperman, nine mechanics, 
and three civilian refugees. Stilwell had undisputed command and used it to 
bring his people through the jungles quickly and in good health. No detail 
of command was too small for his attention. 

Stilwell abandoned his motor transport on 6 May and engaged porters from 
a village near by. His plan was to go west for two days on foot. This march 
would place his party on one of the tributaries of the Chindwin, flowing west 
and south in the direction of India. The stream would in turn carry them near 
the village of Homalin, very close to India. Over the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th the 
party, with Stilwell always in the lead, marched westward. Heat exhaustion 
took its toll. Several people fell out and had to be revived. High above, the 
monkeys grimaced and chattered as the khaki snake wound slowly wes.t along 
the trails and in the shallow streams. At the village of Maingkaing a day was 
spent building rafts. While the rest of the party moved westward by raft, travel- 
ing night and day, 1st Lt. Eugene P. Laybourn took the mules and a group of 
Chinese overland to Homalin. The mule train was met on schedule. The 
Chindwin was crossed on 13 May. The next day there was clear indication that 
the journey was nearly over, for the trails began to incline upward and the air 
to cool. India's guardian mountains were near. The march of the Stilwell party 
was not like the purgatory suffered by those who perforce came out through 

7 *(1) Ltr, Boatner to Stilwell, 23 Aug 42, sub: Rpt on Activities in Dibrugarh-Ledo— Tipang 
Area from 20 Jun to 16 Aug; MS, Evacuation of Burma, Folder, Chinese Army, Trek from Burma. 
Gen Ref Br, OCMH. Evacuation of Burma appears to be a fragment of a long report by one of the 
officers sent up the trail. It gives the impression of a flood of horrors, perils, and adventures on 
such a scale that the author had neither the time nor inclination for fear or disgust. The extraor- 
dinary became commonplace, and he strove with it and recorded it as a matter of routine. (2) 
MA Rpt 655, 21 Sep 42. MID Library. 

76 (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 86-87. (2) History of CBI, p. 35. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



143 



north Burma but the general loss of weight and fatigue revealed the strain 
endured. Capt. Roscoe L. Hambleton, who tried to make his way out with the 
Chinese 5th Army, died of privation before reaching India. 77 

Stil well's safe arrival on Indian soil 15 May created a new figure in 
contemporary American legend: "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, the acid-tongued, 
indomitable, gruff-voiced, kindhearted old soldier who could make his way 
through any jungle. Stilwell offered no alibis, sketched no soothing picture 
of a triumphant withdrawal, but flatly stated: "We got a hell of a beating. It 
was as humiliating as hell. We ought to find out why it happened and go 
back!" 78 

Akyab, on the Bay of Bengal, was evacuated on 4 May by the 14/7 Rajputs, 
placed there in late January to keep the Japanese from using its airfield as a 
base from which to bomb Calcutta. Two more battalions went there on 18 
March and were taken out shortly after because of the Japanese occupation of 
the Andamans. Heavy Japanese bombings in late March affected civilian 
morale, malaria began to make serious inroads on the garrison, and nationalist 
sentiment was increasing sharply. A strong force of Japanese-led Burmans 
with artillery was reported on the mainland at the end of April, and this, added 
to the other circumstances, made withdrawal of the battalion appear advisable. 
Akyab was occupied soon after. 

While the remnants of four imperial and Chinese divisions were strug- 
gling through the mountains into India, on the other side of Burma six Chinese 
divisions were returning over the paths they had taken so hopefully three and 
four months before. All but the Temporary-55th and 28th Divisions were in 
relatively good order; behind them the 18th and 56th Divisions were pressing 
rapidly north and east. Here there could be no disappearing into the jungle. 
The Japanese exploited their success energetically, and for a time it appeared 
they would not be halted short of Kunming itself. Several months before, 
Churchill gave his opinion that the Japanese would not invade India when 
they had conquered Burma but that they would attempt an invasion of Yunnan 
Province, so the Japanese might take the terminus of the Burma Road and 
complete the isolation of China. When the pilots of the AVG destroyed a Jap- 
anese truck convoy with pontoon equipment and mightily harassed the 56th 
Division's truck convoys, they considered they had halted a possible Japanese 
invasion of China. Further support to this view comes from the fact that the 
Japanese did attempt to infiltrate across the Salween and sent patrols and 
swimmers across it just as they had in February before Martaban. On the other 
hand, six years later the commanding general of the 18th Division, a staff officer 
of the 56th Division, and a staff officer of the 15th Army denied that there was 

77 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 99-103. (2) Wyman Diary, 1-20 May 42. (3) Ltr, Nowakowski 
to Sunderland, 13 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. 

78 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 96-104. (2) Wyman Diary, 1-20 May 42. (3) Though Stilwell 
did not reach Imphal, capital of Manipur State, until 20 May, his party crossed the border at 
Saiyapaw on the 15th. History of CBI, p. 26. 




WITHDRAWAL FROM BURMA. General St dwell, followed by two aides, Lt. Col. Frank 
Dom and 1st Lt. Richard Young, leads the way through the jangle, above. Below, a brief rest is 
taken at a campsite. Left to right, Capt. Paul L Jones, Lt. Col Frank D. Merrill, Col Robert P 
Williams, and Col. Adrian St, John. 




146 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



any plan to invade Yunnan. Their statements are supported by an order of 26 
April from 15th Army directing pursuit to the line of the Salween. Whatever 
the recollections of Japanese officers six years later, the Chinese Government 
and General Chennault, having witnessed the debacle in Burma, were thor- 
oughly alarmed and did their best to make invasion of Yunnan impossible. 79 

The Japanese occupied eastern Burma along four lines. One column thrust 
along the Burma Road, one went straight east from Loi-lem, and the two col- 
umns of Siamese plodded north from Chiang Mai. The Reconnaissance Regiment 
of the 56th Division left Lashio on 30 April and went on up the Burma Road, 
scattering a battalion of the Burma Frontier Force, taking the suspension 
bridge over the Shweli west of Namhkam, and going on to Bhamo. On the 
way they had a brush with the Chinese 29th Division and thrust them aside. 
The 148th Regiment went straight up the Burma Road to the hills near the 
Salween. On 4 May they were relieved by a smaller unit, retraced their steps, 
and went on to take Myitkyina on the 8th. The unit which had relieved them 
pressed on to the Salween River and was halted there by the Chinese, who 
wrecked the bridge. The Japanese delay to permit the relief of the 148th Regi- 
ment may have been a great blunder, for a bridgehead over the Salween gorge 
would have been of tremendous value. 80 

Around and between these racing columns with their infantry in trucks 
and with tank spearheads, the 28th, 29th, and 200th Divisions were fighting 
and marching their way to the Chinese border. The adventures of the 200th 
Division were especially notable. Its successes in the Taunggyi area were made 
futile by the capture of Lashio, but the 200th Division, plus half of the 2d 
Reserve Regiment and two battalions of the Temporary- 5 5th Division, was 
still in Taunggyi on 6 May. That day the 200th Division received conflicting 
orders from the Generalissimo and General Tu. The division commander 
obeyed General Tu's order and marched on Myitkyina, which lay many miles 
to the north. 81 While trying to make its way through a mountain pass, the 
division xame under Japanese rifle fire. The commander, the same General Tai 
who fought so well at Toungoo, was wounded and died soon after. The divi- 
sion turned back and took an easier route. 82 This led the 200th Division toward 
Bhamo, in which vicinity it turned sharply east and made its way over the 
mountain paths to China. In effect, the 200th had cut right across the Japanese 
lines of communications and made its long journey behind Japanese task forces 
that were fanning out along the Yunnan border, many miles to the east. 

As for the 28th and 29th Divisions, the former as of 4 May had two regi- 

79 (1) Foucar, pp. 206-08. (2) Statements of General Tanaka, General Takeuchi, Lt Col Taro 
Hayashi, and Col Motohisa Yoshida. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (3) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (4) 
MacMorland Diary, 8 May 42. MacMorland quotes Chennault assaying that the AVG had stopped 
an invasion. 

80 (1) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (2) The Campaign in Burma. 

8 'The preceding passage on the withdrawal of the Chinese Expeditionary Force from Burma 
is based on Japanese Study 88, and the Campaign in Burma, pp. 24, 80—89, 91. 

82 Rpt, With the 200th Division Withdrawing into China, translated by "P. F." SNF-21. 



CHINA'S BLOCKADE BECOMES COMPLETE 



147 



ments scattered between Lashio and Lung-ling, with the rest of its personnel 
north of Lung-ling. By 15 May it had collected itself and moved east of the 
Salween. The terrain in this section of the world lent itself well to such cross- 
country escapes, for by moving at night, troops could escape aerial observation, 
and the Japanese by day could not see through the sheltering mountains. 
Moreover, the Japanese could not be present in great force everywhere, and 
there must have been many gaps through which hardy and determined men 
could find a path. The 29th Division on 4 May was badly defeated at Wanting 
and soon had one regiment and two battalions scattered south of Wanting, 
with the rest of the division north of Lung-ling. 

The lower Salween country was occupied by Japanese and Thai troops— 
the 36th Regiment, 18th Division, from Loi-lem in Burma, the others north from 
Chiang Rai in Thailand. There was some fighting in the Kengtung area. After 
three days the Generalissimo intervened and ordered the Chinese 6th Army, 
of which only the 49th Division was fighting, to fall back on Puerh, China. 
This it did at once, thus bringing the 49th and 93d Divisions back to Chinese 
soil. The Japanese followed, taking Kengtung on 28 May, and advancing on 
Mong Yawng, fifty miles east, on 30 May. On the southern Salween front the 
Japanese were thus moving on in the full tide of hot and successful pursuit, 
but on the northern portion of that enormously long front, 250 miles away, 
the Chinese had halted, rallied, and mounted a counteroffensive with six 
divisions. 

The curtain went up on the last act on 9 May. The Chinese 71st Army 
opened an attack toward Lung-ling, committing its 87th and 36th Divisions, 
keeping the 88th Division in reserve at Pao-shan. 83 The attempt failed, and 
the 87th was driven back, the Japanese following and attacking Hongmoshu, 
just northwest of the Hwei-tung Bridge over the Salween River. The Chinese 
counterattacked on the 15th. On 23 May the fighting took a favorable turn 
for the Chinese, and they captured Hwangtsoapa (sixteen miles northeast of 
Lung-ling on the Burma Road) and Fangmakiao (about ten miles south of 
Lung-ling). Heavy fighting developed next day at Shatzupo to the north, and 
the Chinese were well into an attack on a considerable scale, headed just south 
of west. Shatzupo was taken the next day. The inevitable Japanese counter- 
attacks were repulsed, and by the end of May there was general and confused 
fighting throughout the Teng-chung-Lung-ling-Hwei-tung Bridge area. The 
situation was in hand, and the Japanese made no grand break-through into 
Yunnan Province. 84 

The AVG took part in these actions, first by helping to halt the Japanese 
advance and then by aiding the Chinese counteroffensive. Chinese bombers 
attacking Lashio were escorted on 2 May, and on the 7th and 8th enemy col- 

83 Sources cite d n. 81.1 

84 Japanese Study 88 speaks of righting the 71st Army (heroes of Shanghai fighting in 1937) 
along the Salween. It states the Chinese counterattacked, and that the 36th Division "checked" 
these attacks. 



148 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



iimns west of the Salween were bombed and strafed. One Japanese air raid on 
Pao-shan, the new AVG base, was successful because of surprise; for the 
second, the defenders were aloft and ready, destroying seven Japanese fighters. 
The monsoon rains shielded the Japanese ground forces in the middle of May. 
From 25 May on the AVG could and did attack steadily, the effort varying 
from 5 P-40's on 25 May to 12 on 29 May. Hanoi airfield was raided, too. Such 
was the opulence of Japanese air power in that region that some 60 aircraft 
were seen on the field, of which 1 transport and 15 fighters were claimed as 
destroyed. For the month the AVG could claim 24 fighters, 1 bomber, and 57 
trucks as destroyed, for a loss of five pilots killed in action and 6 aircraft 
destroyed. 85 The Tenth Air Force from its bases in India attacked Mingaladon 
field, Rangoon, on 4 and 5 May, Myitkyina airfield on the 12th and 13th, and 
the Rangoon docks and Myitkyina on 29 and 30 May. 86 

Summary 

At the end of May 1942 the Japanese held most of Burma with its rice, 
oil, tungsten, manganese, and 16,000,000 people. They had completely isolated 
China by land and could reasonably hope to isolate it by air. From Burma they 
could launch their attacks into China or India as they chose. From Burma 
they could bomb Calcutta and its neighboring cities, the very center of the 
Indian war effort, or they could reach far into western China. In taking Burma, 
they outfought and outmaneuvered 9 Chinese divisions, 5 Indian infantry 
brigades, 2 Burmese infantry brigades, 1 British armored brigade, and 6 British 
infantry battalions, totaling perhaps 81,000 men, supported by a modest 
complement of artillery, an American fighter group, and several Royal Air 
Force squadrons. In winning this victory, the Japanese used 10 infantry and 
2 armored regiments with ample air support and claimed to have lost 1,280 
dead and 3,158 wounded. 87 

Writing at the end of the third volume of his diary and dating his remarks 
10 May, which meant he wrote them on the march out, Stilwell poured his 
bitterness into a scathing analysis of the campaign: 

Hostile population; no air service; Jap initiative; inferior equipment (arty, 
tks, MG, TM): inadequate ammunition (50 rds [per] TM, 100 rds [per] arty 
[piece];) inadequate transport (300 trucks, mostly in 5th A;) no supply set-up; improvised 
medical service; stupid, gutless command; interference by CKS; Br. mess on R.R.; rotten 
communications; Br. defeatist attitude; vulnerable tactical situation; knew it was hopeless. 88 

85 Int Summary, AVG Activities for May 42, Hq AVG. AVG File, Gen Ref Br. OCMH. 

86 The New York Times, May 15, 16, June 2, 1942. 

87 (1) Japanese Study 100, sub: Summary of Progress of Operations by 15th Army. (2) In a 
postwar survey, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Report 64d, Ground Logistics, ( 9 ) Statistics of 
Losses, the Japanese losses show 9,600 battle casualties including 7,400 killed in action and 500 
dead from wounds received in action. This report is in the National Archives. (3) The Campaign 
in Burma, pp. 90-91. 

88 Stilwell Diary, 10 May 42. 



PART TWO 



PLANS FOR BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF 
CHINA (MAY 1942-MARCH 1943) 



CHAPTER V 



StilwelPs Mission Interrupted 
by an Ultimatum 

General Stilwell arrived in New Delhi on 24 May. The march out had been 
grueling, but Stilwell lost no time in preparing his proposals for Stimson, 
Marshall, and the Generalissimo. Those to his American superiors were a 
logical development of the 27 April 1942 proposals to the Generalissimo. The 
ones he sent the Generalissimo were the first of their series. 

Stilwell asked Marshall and Stimson to send him one or more U.S. divisions 
for a major Allied operation toward the South China Sea. If American combat 
troops were sent to India, he would add them to the retrained and re-equipped 
Chinese veterans of Burma. With that force he would retake Burma and drive 
the Japanese from Thailand, and then from within China he would force an 
entry into the triangle Hanoi-Hainan-Canton. A foothold there would permit 
attack on major Japanese sea and air routes. Moreover, U.S. troops in India, as 
both token and example, were the surest way to keep the Chinese co-operative. 

As for the Chinese Army, Stilwell told Stimson and Marshall that it was 
weak because its materiel was thinly spread over its 300-odd divisions. These 
supplies should be pooled and redistributed to a smaller number of divisions 
to make them an effective fighting force. A purge of the higher-ranking Chinese 
officers was required. They were physically brave, but they had no moral 
courage, never went to the front, never reconnoitered, and never supervised 
their troops. The Generalissimo should choose a man in whom he had con- 
fidence (Stilwell did not suggest that he be the man) and give him the field 
command with full responsibility, untrammeled by wires and letters from 
Chungking. Supply, communication, and medical services all needed revitaliza- 
tion. In a private letter to Stimson, Stilwell surveyed the defeat in Burma. 
Stilwell did not place the blame for the debacle on any one individual or set of 
circumstances. In the letter he mentioned that he had recommended the 
Chinese execute the commanders of the 6th Army, of the Temporary- 5 5th and 
96th Divisions, and one regimental commander of the 28th Division. 1 

General Marshall sent StilwelPs plea for American troops to the President 



CM-IN 7037. Stilwell to Marshall, 25 May 42. (2) Ltr, Stilwell to Stimson, 25 May 42. 
Stimson Papers. ( See |Bibliographical Note.)| 



152 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



but with the comment that the personnel and shipping situation would not 
permit an affirmative answer. Instead, Marshall suggested a plan submitted 
by the Operations Division (OPD) of the War Department on 26 May 1942 
with the significant title, Keeping China in the War. OPD told Marshall that 
the airfreight line could never deliver enough supplies to China and that the 
Burma Road would have to be reopened. Because India and Burma were in the 
British sphere of strategic responsibility, the action to reopen the Burma Road, 
OPD went on, had to be primarily British, assisted by the U.S. means at hand, 
which were the Tenth Air Force and Chinese lend-lease. This would go far 
to arm 250,000 Indian troops, who would then descend on Burma. The 
Generalissimo's approval of this transfer of Chinese lend-lease was of course 
required, and Marshall proposed to the President that Stilwell be asked to 
obtain it. StilwelPs role in the command or direction of this Allied attempt to 
reoccupy Burma could be determined after he had reported on his success with 
the Generalissimo. 2 

The President approved Marshall's suggestion, and the radio went to 
Stilwell for comment. Stilwell in reply urged Marshall to make no final deci- 
sion until the proposal to train Chinese troops in India had been worked out. 
Moreover, both he and the Chinese believed that though General Head- 
quarters (India), Wavell's headquarters for India Command, was contemplat- 
ing the reconquest of Burma, no plans had been made and no date set. The 
Chinese would not give arms to an enterprise that to them appeared so 
indefinite. 3 

In a cordial radio on 16 June Stimson and Marshall reaffirmed their faith 
in Stilwell and told him they were trying to get the Generalissimo's consent 
to conditions which would make Stilwell's task easier. If they failed in this, 
they would send him to another theater where his talents might be applied. 
Thus, Stilwell's first approach to the War Department for tools to do the job 
had run hard aground on the rocks of the troop and shipping shortage. 4 

Stilwell's Proposals To Reform the Chinese Army 

From New Delhi Stilwell flew to Chungking, arriving there on 3 June, 
the brief delay caused largely by bad weather. The general was ill. Defective 
yellow fever serum brought on a debilitating attack of yellow jaundice, which 
made it very hard for Stilwell to be up and about. Despite this, the day after 
his arrival he forced himself to keep an appointment with the Generalissimo 

2 (1) Memo, Gen Crawford, Actg ACofS OPD, 26 May 42, sub: Keeping China in War. 
OPD 381 CTO (5-26-42), A47-30. OPD was the wartime successor to War Plans Division 
(WPD). (2) Memo, Marshall for President, 28 May 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

} (1) CM-IN 1878, Stilwell to Marshall, 6Jun 42. (2) Min, War Council Mtg, 8 Jun 42. 
WDCSA, Notes on War Council, A48-139- (3) Stilwell was unaware that in June 1942 Wavell 
had submitted outline plans for Burma's reconquest to the British Chiefs of Staff. Wavell Despatch, 
March 1942 to December 31, 1942, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 27-30. 

4 CM-OUT 3751, Stimson to Stilwell, 16 Jun 42. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



153 



and Madame Chiang at which he "gave them the full story [of Burma], pull- 
ing no punches, and naming names." 5 He also presented his proposals for the 
reform of the Chinese Army: 

MAY 26, 1942. 

NOTES FOR THE GENERALISSIMO 



The Chinese Army is weak partly because of lack of equipment, but mostly for other 
reasons. It is too large to equip properly with the materiel now available, but a reduced 
number of divisions could be furnished with suitable weapons, including artillery, if a 
determined effort were made to get it together. A reorganization should be commenced 
at once with this end in view. A few dependable, well-equipped, well-supported divisions 
would be worth far more than double the number of the present average. The lack, of artil- 
lery, A. A. guns, tanks, and planes has been evident for a long time. There is no use in 
continuing this complaint. The question is what can be done now with what we have. 

(1)1 recommend the merging of divisions to bring all units up to full strength, and the 
assignment of all available weapons to these divisions as far as they will go. Our available 
striking force will then be concentrated, and usable, as it is not now. 



The average of the rank and file is willing, disciplined, inured to hardship, and responsive 
to leadership. The junior officers respond readily to direction. Battalion and regimental 
commanders show considerable variation, but there are many good ones. It would be easy 
to sift out the inefficient in these grades, and the resulting promotion would have a good 
effect on morale. Division and Army commanders are a great problem. Very few of them 
are efficient. They seldom get up to the front and they very rarely supervise the execution 
of their orders. Reports from the front are accepted without check, and very often prove 
exaggerated or entirely false. The vital necessity of continuous reconnaissance and security 
is commonly ignored, often with fatal consequences. The average division commander 
seems to feel that issuing an order from a point sometimes 50 miles from the front is all 
that is required of him. Many of these officers are personally brave, but most of them lack 
moral courage. 

(2)1 recommend a rigid purge of inefficient high commanders. This could be accom- 
plished partly by the training section, which could require field tests, and partly on recom- 
mendations from officers in whom the Generalissimo has the highest confidence. Without 
a clearing out of the inefficient, the Army will continue to go down hill, no matter how 
much materiel is supplied for it. 



The system of command must be clarified and unity of command insisted upon. The 
Generalissimo must pick some one man in whom he has confidence, give him a general 
directive, and then let him handle the troops without interference from anyone whom- 
soever. This man must not only control the tactical direction of the troops, but also their 
transport, supply, communications, and medical service. During the Burma campaign letters 
and instructions from various sources reached various commanders who as a result were 

5 The Stilwell Papers, pp. 110-13. 



154 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



confused as to their action. The Generalissimo himself writes to various commanders mak- 
ing suggestions based on his knowledge of the situation, and giving advice as to courses 
of action in certain contingencies. These commanders, in their high regard for the General- 
issimo's experience and ability, invariably interpret these suggestions and this advice as 
orders and act on them as such. (The Generalissimo gets unquestioned loyalty from his 
officers.) 

(3) I recommend that in future operations one man be chosen with complete authority 
to direct the action with complete control over the services, and with no staff other than 
his own present. Liaison officers from the War Ministry can check all his orders and actions, 
as well as his reports, but his absolute control of the troops must not be infringed upon. 



The above recommendations cover the main points which observation convinces me are 
essential if the Chinese Army is to remain an efficient fighting force. There are other things 
that must be attended to. A better system of supply and transport must be set up. Com- 
munications must be improved. The medical service must be organized in units that can 
move at once to serve any theater of operations. Rewards for gallant conduct should be 
made promptly. Punishment must be prompt and ruthless, no matter what the rank of the 
offender. The situation looks dark, but it can be saved by a vigorous and immediate overhaul 
of the entire organization. The Army will be smaller, but it will be far more efficient and 
easier to supply and handle. China can even now produce, with the meager resources avail- 
able, a striking force that can hold the Japs off until the growing offensive powers of the 
Allies turns [sic'] the scales toward complete victory. 6 

Glancing quickly at the paper, Madame Chiang remarked that this was 
what his German advisers had told the Generalissimo. Twenty days later at 
another conference she said that the drastic measures advocated by General 
Stilwell could not be taken. It was necessary to be "realistic," Madame Chiang 
went on, "heads cannot be lopped off otherwise nothing would be left." 7 This 
was the only Chinese reaction to StilwelPs proposals of 26 May. In his files 
Stilwell kept an envelope with his memoranda to the Generalissimo for the 
period 26 May-1 August 1942. On the cover he tabulated and summarized 
them by date, and after each he gave the Chinese reaction. For ten of the thir- 
teen memoranda, including his 26 May proposal, he gave the Chinese response 
as, simply, "No answer." 8 

Stilwell's jaundice greatly restricted his activities until late June but he was 
able to meet twice with the Generalissimo. At the first conference on 15 June 
the Generalissimo scoffed at any suggestion that the British might drive back 
into Southeast Asia. He revealed his belief that masses of the latest and best 

6 (1) Notes for Generalissimo, 26 May 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Stilwell 
summarized these proposals for Marshall in CM-IN 5665, Stilwell to Marshall, 18 Jun 42. 

7 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 113. (2) Min (Chinese and American versions), Conf, Stilwell, 
Generalissimo, and Mme. Chiang, 24 Jun 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. Stilwell and 
Mme. Chiang started their conference at 5:00 P.M. and their talks ended at 7:00 P.M. The 
Generalissimo was present from 5:30 to 6:30 P.M. Nowhere in the public or private papers of 
General Stilwell could there be found a proposal "that all Chinese Armies be reorganized with 
American officers holding all posts of colonel and above." From Way of a Fighter, p. 167, by 
Clai re L. Ch ennault. Copyright. 1949, by Claire Lee Chennault. Courtesy of G. P. Putnam's Sons. 

8 See illustration bn opposite page. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



155 



WAH MPAHTHENT 



$<*2*i t - . i - S— ^Z, - <i ~ *** "* 

% L 9 . c**,-A*-±.* late* - ' ? 

^ 7 - / ^ ■ 



materiel would win the war. Stilwell retorted that the only way was to reor- 
ganize thoroughly the Chinese Army. His point then, and later, was that it 
was fatuous to give a medium tank or a howitzer to a peasant soldier who had 
never seen anything more complex than his father's wheelbarrow; that the 
Chinese Army had to be trained and reorganized before it could profitably 
be given new equipment. To this belief the Chinese never subscribed. Madame 
Chiang's comment to StilwelPs retort was that the Generalissimo had to 
consider "certain influences." 9 

The conferences of 24 June revealed that Madame Chiang wanted General 
Tu to command the Chinese troops in India, who were simply to rest there and 
not undergo training. Then the Generalissimo entered and stated (according to 
the Chinese minutes) that the Chinese in India were to be trained. After two 
hours Madame Chiang herself raised the command point again, and this time 
the Chinese agreed that Tu would be relieved and that Lo Cho-ying would 
command, though Stilwell would have preferred either an American, General 

9 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 115. (2) CM-IN 5665, Stilwell to Marshall, 18 Jun 42. 



156 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Sun (38th Division), or Maj. Gen. Liao Yao-shiang (22d Division), in that 
order. 10 

When the Generalissimo was present at the conference, Stilwell was able 
to raise the question of the joint staff. This body, which was to have been set 
up in March, was still not created in June. 11 Proposals had been exchanged, 
though it seemed to the Americans that General Ho, the Chinese Chief of Staff 
and Minister of War, had not read those sent by the Chinese staff to Stilwell. 
General Ho, however, shared his subordinates' belief that the joint staff should 
be under the Chinese General Staff. 12 This would produce an arrangement simi- 
lar to that which would have obtained if General Eisenhower and his Allied 
staff in England had been placed under the British Imperial General Staff. In 
the discussion it appeared that the Generalissimo's views on the joint staff 
agreed exactly with Stilwell 's; that the Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, 
China Theater, should issue orders to Stilwell, his Allied chief of staff. The 
joint staff would then prepare orders accordingly, whose execution would be 
through the Chinese General Staff for the Chinese Army, and through General 
Stilwell for Allied Forces in China Theater. It appeared to Stilwell that the 
Generalissimo also had not seen the Chinese proposals. 13 

The Generalissimo went on to say, at the 24 June conference, that a head- 
quarters for China Theater should be established and a comprehensive plan 
drawn up. This plan should have two phases— the first being to maintain the 
status quo in China, the second to prepare for the counteroffensive. As theaters 
for the counterblow the Generalissimo mentioned Burma, Thailand, Indo- 
china, and China itself. Stilwell replied that his plan would be ready either that 
day or the next. The Generalissimo then turned to lend-lease equipment and 
aircraft, saying that once a plan had been made to bring in 5,000 tons of sup- 
plies a month and to maintain 500 aircraft in China, then attention could be 
directed to training troops. 

Coming back to command problems, the Generalissimo explained his 
system: 

... I cannot overemphasize the need of a general plan for the whole of the China 
Theater of War. It will have a great effect upon the morale of not only the army but also 
the people of China. I can send representatives from various military organizations to your 
office once it comes into existence thereby increasing the effectiveness of the work. I want 
you to be very close to me and to serve as an important member of the brain trust. I want 
you to know what is going on and to see me very frequently. 

There is a secret for the direction of Chinese troops unlike the direction of foreign troops. 
I am well aware of the fact that our senior officers do not possess enough education and sufE- 

10 Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell, Generalissimo, and Mme. Chiang, 24 Jun 42. Stilwell 
Documents, Hoover Libra ry. 

11 Ch. Ill, p pl 87-89 J 94-96 J above. 

12 (1) Stilwell uiary, 15, 10, 24 Jun 42. (2) Min (Chinese and American versions), Conf, 
Stilwell, Generalissimo, and Mme. Chiang, 24 Jun 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

13 Memo 161, Stilwell for Shang Chen, 27 Jun 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



157 



cient capacity for work. Anticipating them to make mistakes, I often write to them per- 
sonally so that timely warned they might avoid them. Knowing their limited capacity I 
plan ahead for them. We have been carrying on the war of resistance for five years in such 
conditions. 

At the outbreak of the war, Japan announced that in three months the war would be 
over and friends of China believed this, but we are still able to continue it, because of the 
understanding of the limitations of our senior officers and the resort to timely warnings. In 
other words prevention is better than cure. The German officers who had been employed by 
China for their training were unable to get along with Chinese officers. It would be necessary 
to think in terms of their mentality. If you are with me closely for a few months, you will 
understand the psychology of Chinese officers, and I will tell you more about their 
peculiarities. . . . l4 

StilwelPs proposed plan for China Theater, as requested by the General- 
issimo, was then in course of preparation. Phase I of the plan has not survived, 
but Phase II, the Counteroffensive, a study of an operation to seize the Hankow 
area, shows his attempt to comply with the orders of the Supreme Commander, 
China Theater. 15 Before these plans could be presented, word came of a crisis 
in the Middle East that left Stilwell writing: "Now what can I say to the G-mo? 
We fail in all our commitments and blithely tell him to just carry on, old 
top." 16 

Beginnings of Trouble 

On 23 June the War Department notified Stilwell that Brereton was to take 
the Tenth's heavy bombers and a number of the Assam-Burma-China airline's 
transport aircraft, with necessary personnel, and go to the Middle East. 17 The 
British forces in that area had been severely shaken and driven from Cyrenaica 
into Egypt by Italo-German forces under the leadership of Gen. Erwin Rommel. 
The Suez Canal, the Middle East, and the lines of communication to India and 
China via the Cape of Good Hope all seemed in danger, and help had to be 
sent. In June 1942 Churchill was present in Washington to discuss strategy 
with Roosevelt and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 

News of the Axis successes in North Africa, which included the stunning 
surprise of Tobruk's fall on 21 June, made Churchill favor an attack on North 
Africa to relieve the pressure in the Middle East. 18 This attack might have 
meant the end of preparations for the cross-Channel assault by the Anglo- 
American forces on northern France (code name, Bolero). However, as a 
result of a series of compromises the basic plan for Bolero was preserved. To 
achieve the plan the United States made certain concessions, among which was 

14 Min (Chinese and American versions), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 24 Jun 42. Stilwell 
Documents, Hoover Library. Quotation from the Chinese version. 

15 (1) Preliminary Estimate, II, The Counteroffensive. SNF-14. (2) Gen Hearn, A Critique 
of the Hankow Operation. SNF-14. 

16 The Stilwell Papers, p. 119. 

17 CM-OUT 5699, OPD to Stilwell, 23 Jun 42. 

18 (1) CM-IN 6008, Col Bonner F. Fellers, Cairo, to AGWAR, 17 Jun 42. (2) CM-IN 6491, 
Fellers to WD, 19 Jun 42. (3) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 590-99. 



158 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the transfer of General Brereton with all of his available aircraft from India to 
the Middle East and the halting in Africa of a shipment of Lockheed Hudson 
(A-29) bombers intended for China. The immediate result of Brereton's trans- 
fer was, as Marshall recognized, serious trouble with the Generalissimo. 19 

But Marshall pointed out only the proximate cause of American difficulties 
with the Generalissimo, because trouble had been brewing for months. Three 
important points were vexing the Chinese: China was not admitted to member- 
ship in the Combined Chiefs of Staff; since January 1942 the Generalissimo's 
Foreign Minister had been sending him inflammatory reports about the way 
lend-lease was being administered by the Americans; and the several aviation 
projects for China were very slow in materializing. 

For a brief period after Pearl Harbor things had gone very well on the 
diplomatic front. After the Arcadia Conference Roosevelt had insisted that 
China be treated as a Great Power. The Generalissimo had become Supreme 
Commander of China Theater. He had convened an Allied military council in 
Chungking; he had accepted an American as his Allied chief of staff; he had 
sent three armies and the American Volunteer Group to the defense of Burma. 
Possibly impressed by China's new status as a Great Power (certainly a triumph 
for Chinese diplomacy and propaganda), the Generalissimo had been late in 
seeking a place for China with the emerging Combined Chiefs of Staff and their 
subordinate body, the Munitions Assignments Board. 

Not until 19 April 1942 did the Generalissimo bid for CCS membership for 
China. 20 A negative reply was sent on 13 June 1942; it politely recognized 
China's importance in the war, but it was still a refusal. One reason behind the 
refusal lay in the fact that CCS membership would have entailed membership 
in the Munitions Assignments Board, whose function was to allocate the pooled 
exportable Anglo-American munitions production. China could contribute 
nothing to such a pool and would only make demands for a greater share 
in it. 21 

The strength of the Generalissimo's feelings had been shown by his quoting 
the Indian nationalist leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi: "Why, they [the British 
and the Americans] do not even admit your country to their staff talks!" The 
Generalissimo had gone on to tell T. V. Soong: "If we are treated thus during 
the stress of war, what becomes of our position at the peace conference? You 

19 Statement of Marshall, Notes on "War Council Mtg, 29 Jun 42. WDCSA, Notes on War 
Council, A48-139. Also notes of 22 June 1942. Same file. 

20 (1) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 515-16. (2) Telg, Chiang to Soong, 19 Apr 42; 
Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 20 Apr 42. Bk VI, Hopkins Papers. 

21 (1) Ltr, Field Marshal Dill, Gen Marshall, and Admiral Ernest J. King, CinC, U.S. Fleet, 
to Lt Gen Hsiung Shih-fei, Chief, Chinese Mil Mission to U.S., 13 Jun 42. ABC 384 (China), 
29 May 42, A48-224. (2) CCS 74, 29 May 42, sub: Chinese Concept of Conduct of Present War. 
(3) JCS 17th Mtg, Notes (Tab A), 1 Jun 42. ABC 384 (China), 29 May 42, A48-224. (4) CCS 
22d Mtg, 2 Jun 42. (5) Ltr, Hsiung to CCS, 26 Jun 42. ABC 336 (China), 26 Jan 42, Sec 1A, 
A48-224. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



159 



must insist that we have our own stand, and we have our own independent 
position to uphold." 22 

China's share in lend-lease had been shrinking. When actual war broke out 
between the United States and the Axis powers, every weapon and every pound 
of supplies had to be used. By late spring 1942 the Chinese had accumulated 
149,000 tons of lend-lease in the United States and 45,000 tons in India, for 
which prospects of delivery after the loss of Burma were dim indeed. Strongly 
and eloquently opposed by Soong and his associates, the Munitions Assign- 
ments Board of the Combined Chiefs of Staff moved steadily toward 
repossessing the Chinese stockpiles and cutting new allocations of Chinese 
lend-lease to what might be expected to be flown to China in the near future. 
As the War Department's representative in Chungking, charged with supervis- 
ing and controlling China's lend-lease, Stilwell was inevitably brought into 
this delicate and, for the Chinese, irritating situation. 

Asked by Dr. Currie in March for his opinions on the then billion-and- 
a-half-dollar Chinese lend-lease program, Stilwell agreed with Currie to reduce 
it to arms for thirty divisions, aircraft for the 500-plane air force, and road- 
building machinery. 23 Consistent with this, Stilwell recommended that the 
War Department procure and ship arms for the Thirty Divisions and the 
Chinese Air Force. 24 That Stilwell should comment on Chinese bids for lend- 
lease aid, as he was obliged by his orders to do, soon angered the General- 
issimo. 

Before Pearl Harbor lend-lease had been allocated among the several 
sovereign Allied states on a quasi-diplomatic basis. After Pearl Harbor the 
Munitions Assignments Board allocated it among theaters of operations in 
accordance with CCS strategic concepts. The Generalissimo's China Theater 
was not under the Combined Chiefs, but his share of lend-lease after Pearl 
Harbor was set by the Munitions Assignments Board, which was under the 
CCS. Ultimately, the Generalissimo realized that the only way he could 
increase his share was to appeal directly to the President. 25 

At the end of April, the War Department suggested that Stilwell and the 
Generalissimo agree on China's lend-lease, then forward a series of periodic 

22 (1) Telg, Chiang to Soong, 19 Apr 42. Bk VI, Hopkins Papers. (2) China sought represen- 
tation on the CCS until V-J Day. Ltr, Shang Chen, Chief, Chinese Mil Mission to U.S., to CCS, 
3 Jul 45, Incl to JCS 1407, 5 Jul 45, sub: Chinese Representation on CCS. 

23 Rad AMMISCA 261, Currie to Stilwell, 7 Mar 42. AMMISCA Radio File, Tob-11. 

24 Stilwell recommended that the prewar communication projects be cut, but he asked the 
War Department to fill Chinese lend-lease requisitions on the basis of a new Chinese Table of 
Organization and Equipment that was handed to him on 9 March 1942. The request was granted. 
(1) Stilwell Diary, 9 Mar 42. (2) Rad AMMISCA 345, Stilwell to AGWAR, 10 Mar 42. 
AMMISCA Radio File, Job-11. (3) Memo, Eisenhower for Aurand, 15 Mar 42, sub: Priorities 
to China. OPD 400.3295 (China), 11 Mar 42, A47-30. (4) Memo, Eisenhower for McCloy, 
31 Mar 42. Same file. 

"(1) CCS 50/2, 23 Mar 42. (2) Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare: 1941-43. 
(3) Memo, Soong for Hopkins, 22 Apr 42; Ltr, Burns to Hopkins, 22 Apr 42, sub: Shipts to 
China; Memo, Soong for Hopkins, 1 May 42; Memo, Hopkins for Malony, 30 Apr 42, and 
Malony's reply, same date; Memo, Soong for Hopkins, 1 May 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 



160 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



agreed-on requisitions. Magruder answered for Stilwell, who was at that 
moment on the ox roads toward Myitkyina. Magruder dismissed the sugges- 
tion as nothing but a treatment for symptoms and proposed the quid pro quo 
policy which was to dominate the War Department's views for months to 
come. Magruder acknowledged that the Chinese had been led to expect more 
lend-lease than they could ever receive. He recommended for a first step to get 
the Generalissimo to agree to a specific and limited organization of ground 
and air forces which could be supplied partly by lend-lease. 26 

The trend toward greater control over Chinese lend-lease by the Munitions 
Assignments Board was dramatically highlighted in May by the repossession 
of the 149,000-ton stockpile at Newport News, Virginia, to which Soong 
reluctantly assented. 27 Moreover at this same time, in response to a request 
from its Ground Committee, the Munitions Assignments Board studied a new 
lend-lease program for China. On 8 May a China Defense Supplies official 
had given Brig. Gen. Henry S. Aurand, Chairman of the Munitions Assign- 
ments Committee (Ground), an emergency air transport program, which the 
official said was the result of a White House conference. The China Defense 
Supplies official also said that Soong considered the program as an ultimatum. 
The Chinese program called for the air delivery of 7,500 tons a month. The 
Munitions Assignments Committee (Ground) selected a figure which was 
approximately half of the Chinese demand. Concurrently, the Munitions 
Assignments Committee (Ground) requested a decision from the Munitions 
Assignments Board on a tonnage figure to be used as a basis for assignment 
and asked for authority to negotiate a six months' program (May to October) 
and to recommend assignments for May and June. The Munitions Assign- 
ments Board assigned 3,500 tons (items for the Chinese Army) for May and 
Ju ne resp ectively and projected a program for July through October 1942. 
( Table 4)1 Mindful of putting more air power in China, the Munitions Assign- 
ments Board set aside an additional 1,500 tons a month for Chennault on the 
same basis as the 3,500-ton program for the Chinese Army. During the dura- 
tion of the emergency air transport program, the board named Stilwell as its 
agent to receive the lend-lease in India for China and to name the time and 
place for delivery to China. 28 

In June this prospect of 5,000 tons, already drab beside the transferred 
149,000 tons, grew even more so as Soong learned that the War Department 

26 (1) Memo, Aurand for McCloy, 27 Apr 42. ASW 400.366 (China). (2) CM-OUT 5680, 
Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Apr 42. (3) CM-IN 0513, Magruder for Stilwell to AG WAR, 2 May 42. 
(4) Memo, Magruder for Stilwell, 18 May 42, sub: Some Observations on Present Situation in 
China. AMMISCA Folder 7. 

27 (1) The battle over the lend-lease stockpile at Newport News and at other depots in the 
United States is contained in a series of letters between McCloy and Soong from 19 to 21 May 
1942. ASW 400.336 (China). (2) One hundred thousand tons of the Chinese lend-lease stocks 
were War Department procured and the remainder were Treasury stocks. This 149,000 tons 
excluded 10,317 carloads of steel rails and accessories for the Yunnan-Burma Railway. See Ch. 
I, above. Memo for Record. ASW 400.336 (China). 

28 (1) Min, MAC(G) 27th Mtg, 11 May 42. (2) Min, MAB 15th Mtg, 15 May 42, Item 6. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



161 



Table 4 — Actual and Projected Deliveries of Lbnd-Lbasb Equipment Under the Chinese Embr 
obncy Air Transport Program: May-Octobbr 1942 ■ 



[In Long Tons] 



Type of Equipment 


Actual t> 


Projected • 


May 


June 


July 


August 


September 


Oaober 




3,500 


3,500 


3,506 


3,522 


3,489 


3,458 




2,865 


2,744 


3,168 


3,130 


2,570 


2,943 




200 


321 


188 


242 


169 


165 




235 


235 


150 


150 


150 


150 




200 


200 








600 


200 



• Exclusive of air corps fuel. 

b Lead-Lease commitment to China as of 19 May 42. 

• For planning purposes only, July through October. 

Source: Min, MAC(G) 28th Mtg. 14 May 42, Tab B; Min.MAC(G) 29th Mtg, 18 May 42, Tab B. CCS 334.8 
MAB (5-15-42). 



regarded only the May and June 3,500-ton allotments as a firm commitment. 
Soong learned further that Stilwell was now the Munitions Assignments 
Board's agent in setting the date and place at which lend-lease titles passed to 
Chinese hands, a response to the Tulsa incident. It is worthy of note that not 
then or ever was Stilwell given power to say how much lend-lease China 
should receive. He might propose, but the Munitions Assignments Board 
disposed. Unfortunately, Soong did not tell the Generalissimo about Stilwell's 
new powers. For his part, Stilwell quickly saw that he had received lend-lease 
duties of baffling complexity. In the light of the events described above it 
would seem that the Chinese failure to grapple realistically with the transporta- 
tion of lend-lease materiel and their preoccupation with simply staking out a 
claim to large portions of American production, both military and commercial, 
and then defending it tooth and nail were responsible for this development. 29 
Besides the difficulties over lend-lease supplies and China's lack of CCS 
membership there were others on the handling of U.S. air power in China, 
Burma, and India. 30 On 2 April the Generalissimo agreed to dissolve the AVG 
in exchange for Stilwell's promise of a complete U.S. fighter group (the 23d 
Pursuit Group) by 4 July when most AVG pilots' contracts with Pawley's 
company would expire. 31 The bitterness of AVG personnel, which caused the 

29 (1) CM-OUT 6222, Somervell to Stilwell, 29 May 42. (2) Ltr, MAC(G) to CDS, 16 Jun 
42, sub: Chinese Emergency Air Transport Program. Folder, China Requirements, ASF (DAD) 
ID, A46-299. (3) Rad, Marshall to Stilwell, 9 Jun 42. (4) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 126-27, 130-31. 
(5) rM-TM iod9 Stilwell to AGWAR, 5 Jun 42. (6) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. XI. 

30 See lCh. IlJa bove. 

31 (1) OV1-IN 0629. Stilwell to AGWAR, 2 Apr 42. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 170- 
72. (3) See Ch. I I p. 18.b bove. (4) AVG contracts would start expiring by 4 July 1942, since the 
first pilots had reached the Far East on 3 July 1941 to begin their one-year contract with Pawley's 
company. AVG Contract Folder, Pawley Papers. 



162 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



mutiny described in Chapter III, was not diminished by Brig. Gen. Clayton 
L. BisselPs lack of success in handling the problem of induction, and only 
five pilots agreed to accept Army Air Forces commissions. 32 Though Bissell 
repeatedly urged the War Department to send the men and the aircraft needed 
for the new fighter group and for added bomber and fighter strength, as 4 July 
drew near, it was ever more apparent they would not be on hand. 33 

Despite Stilwell's directives, Headquarters, Tenth Air Force, gave him little 
aid in his attempts to cope with the problems of establishing U.S. air power in 
China. The Tenth's attention was centered on India. The burden of negotia- 
tions with the Chinese and of making arrangements for basing more U.S. 
aircraft in China fell on Stilwell, who necessarily delegated the task to his air 
officer, Bissell. To Stilwell, the slowness with which the Tenth moved men and 
aircraft to China contrasted unfavorably with the speed with which the Tenth 
sent its heavy bombers, transports, and key staff personnel to Egypt. The failure 
of Headquarters, Tenth Air Force, to issue a directive to Chennault for China 
operations forced that task on Bissell. Bissell also had to "make all arrange- 
ments for receiving, housing, and feeding 10th Air Force [in China]." 34 All 
this embarrassed Stilwell in his relations with the Generalissimo and Chennault, 
who mistakenly believed that Stilwell was indifferent to the possibilities of 
China-based air power. 35 

A further complication was created by the Chinese agreement to furnish 
ground facilities plus fuel and bombs from their meager stores to the new 23d 
Pursuit Group on the understanding that the United States would replace 
them. The Chinese were manifestly living up to their promise. These arrange- 
ments had of course been made without foreknowledge of the Middle East 
crisis, which transformed what had been an amicable arrangement into what 
the Generalissimo probably thought one more failure to make good on a U.S. 
promise. 36 

To the irritating AVG problem was added the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. 
Bombers surviving the raid were expected to land in China, where they would 
join Chennault. The Generalissimo did not want the B-25's landing in China 
after bombing Tokyo, for he feared a violent Japanese reaction. He had only 
been apprised of the project at the last minute, and his wishes were in effect 

« See Ch. III .Ipp. 1 12-13. l above. 

"(1) CM-IN 1226, Bissell to AGWAR, 5 May 42. (2) CM-OUT 2275, Marshall to Stilwell, 
12 May 42. (3) CM-IN 5194, Bissell to AGWAR, 19 May 42. (4) CM-IN 8047, Stilwell to 
AGWAR, 28 May 42. 

i4 ( 1 ) Stilwell denounced Headquarters, Tenth Air Force, on eighteen separate counts. Docu- 
ments entitled Case, Obstacles. SNF-12. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 139-40. 
Ji Chennault, Way of a Fighter, Ch. 12. 

36 (1) Ltr, Bissell to Maj Gen Chou Chih-jou, Dir Commission of Aeronautical Affairs, NMC, 
10 Tun 42. Item 128, Corresp Folder (Jul 42-Nov 43), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) CM-IN 9114, 
Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Jun 42. (3) Memo 24, Bissell for Generalissimo, 23 Jun 42. Corresp 
Folder, Memos for Mme. Chiang (May-Sep 42), CT 2 3, Dr 2, KCRC. (4) Rpt of Conf with 
Mme. Chiang, 24 Jun 42, sub: Opns of American Aviation in China. Corresp Folder (May-Sep 42), 
CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



163 



overruled. 37 Marshall apologized to the Generalissimo for the failure to consult 
him. 38 

As the Generalissimo had feared, fifty : three Japanese battalions drove 
through Chekiang Province, whose people had received the wrecked American 
crews. Issued 30 April 1942, the orders of Imperial General Headquarters to China 
Expeditionary Forces were to "thwart the enemy's plans to carry out air raids 
on the homeland of japan from the Chekiang Province area. To accomplish 
this mission he [the Commander-in-Chief, China Expeditionary Forces'] will 
annihilate enemy forces in said area and destroy the area's principal air bases." 
Thus was plainly evidenced the extreme sensitivity of the Japanese to any 
American move which threatened aerial bombardment of Japan proper, and in 
moving through Chekiang the Japanese did what ingenuity and malice sug- 
gested to persuade the hapless peasants that hospitality to Americans was 
inadvisable. To the eternal credit of the Chinese, they spurned both the lesson 
and its teacher. 39 

The Japanese sweep through Chekiang Province ended still another air 
project. The plan to bomb Japan with China-based B-24's, HALPRO, in which 
the Generalissimo had been greatly interested, was canceled and the B-24's 
stopped in Egypt because Stilwell felt that the loss of the Chekiang bases and 
the lack of transports made the effort impossible. 40 

Air Transport Disappoints the Chinese 

Activated on 21 March with Pan American Airways' twenty-five transports, 
the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command hardly began operations before it 
was forced to take its aircraft off the run to China in order to drop supplies 
to the soldiers and refugees streaming out of Burma. In mid-May came the 
monsoon, causing round trips to China to average only fifty-seven each in May 
and June. Twenty-one flying days were lost to the rains. As a result, only a few 
score tons were flown into China. 41 

The United States in spring and summer 1942 did not have transport air- 
craft to spare for the airline to China. In April 1942 first priority for transports 
went to aircraft for the airborne components of the projected cross-Channel 

}7 (1) Rad AF3/294, Arnold to Stilwell, 18 Mar 42. (2) CM-IN 3130, AMMISCA to 
AGWAR, 11 Apr 42. (3) Memo 3, Bissell for Generalissimo, 16 Apr 42. Ltrs to Generalissimo 
(Apr 42-Apr 44), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (4) Memo, Gen McNarney, DCofS, for Roosevelt, 16 
Apr 42, sub: First Sp Bombing Mission (China). AG 381 (16 Apr 42). 

38 Marshall's apologies were conveyed to the Generalissimo by Bissell in Memo 5, Bissell tor 
Generalissimo, 19 Apr 42. Ltrs to Generalissimo (Apr 42-Apr 44), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

59 (1) Imperial General Headquarters, Army Order 621, 30 Apr 42, GHQ, Far East Comd, 
Mil Hist Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army Orders, Vol. II. Gen Ret Br, OCMH. (2) 
Japanese Study 77. 

40 (1) CM-OUT 1929, Arnold to Stilwell, 9 May 42. (2) Memo 14, Bissell for Generalissimo, 
11 May 42, sub: Second Sp Aviation Project; Memo 17, Bissell for Generalissimo, 26 May 42. 
Ltrs to Generalissimo (Apr 42-Apr 44), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

41 (1) History of the India-China Ferry under the Tenth Air Force. I^^AJLHist Div. (2) 
Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, pp. 497-502. (3) See Ch. Illl p. 93,|above. 



164 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



assault; second priority to the Air Ferry Command of the AAF, which was 
charged with flying men and supplies to the different war fronts; and third 
priority, to Stilwell's China-Burma-India (CBI) command. The value of the 
Ferry Command's second priority may be judged by the number of aircraft 
on its roster in April 1942 — 57. Stilwell's command was allotted 75 aircraft, 
of which 34 were en route. A week later at the next CCS meeting it was 
announced that CBI would be cut to 57 aircraft, including those of China 
National Aviation Corporation. For the present no more were available. 42 

The most common Washington estimate was the erroneous one that 
seventy- five aircraft could fly 5,000 tons a month to China, which would pro- 
vide 3,500 tons of lend-lease materiel and 1,500 tons of supplies for a U.S. air 
force in China. The Chinese applied the heaviest diplomatic pressure to have 
this tonnage reached; the President in turn interested himself directly in the 
Ferry Command's operations and equipment. He told General Arnold on 
5 May: 

I gather that the air ferry route to China is seriously endangered [by the loss of Burma]. 
The only way we can get certain supplies into China is by air. I wish you and Mr. Lovett 
would confer immediately with Dr. Soong and General Shen on alternative air routes. I 
want you to explore every possibility, both as to airplanes and routes. It is essential that 
our route be kept open, no matter how difficult. 43 

With the Chinese and the President both demanding action, Arnold sug- 
gested that fifty B-24's be converted to transports and based on Allahabad in 
India, far from the vulnerable airfield in Assam from which aircraft were then 
flying to China. OPD argued that converting fifty B-24's would be a heavy 
drain on Bolero. OPD thought the airline to China merely a token operation, 
not worth a heavy commitment. In the light of the OPD comments Arnold 
then recommended, and the President agreed, that the airline should be kept 
open as long as possible with commercial types only. Stilwell did not par- 
ticipate in this correspondence, but the Chinese blamed him for the War 
Department's stand. 44 

Unable to get the B-24's, the Chinese then wanted four-motored trans- 
ports. The Generalissimo personally appealed to Roosevelt. When consulted 
by Hopkins, the Army replied that only twenty-seven C-54's would be pro- 
duced in 1942 and that they could not be supported in India. 45 

42 (1) CCS 17th Mtg, 28 Apr 42, par. 1. (2) CCS 18th Mtg, 5 May 42, par. 1. 

43 ( 1) Ltr with Incl, McCloy to Hopkins, 4 May 42, Bk V, Hopkins Papers. (2) Ltr, President 
to Arnold, 5 May 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. (3) Memo, Col Deane for Marshall, 27 Jul 42. 
WDCSA, Notes on War Council, A48-139. (4) Rad, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Sep 42. Item 41, 
Bk 1, JWS Personal File, A48-102, Record Group 800, HRS DRB AGO. (See Bibliographical 
Note.) 

44 (1) Ltr, Arnold to DCofS, 12 May 42, sub: India-China Ferry Route; Memo, Eisenhower, 
ACofS, for DCofS, 14 May 42; Notes for Record on Memo, McNarney for Arnold, 18 May 42. 
WDCSA (China), A45-466. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 120. (3) Rpt, Currie to Roosevelt, 24 
Aug. 42, sub: Rpt on Visit to China. OPD 336 China (24 Aug 42), A47-30. 

45 (1) Telg, Chiang to Roosevelt, 1 Jun 42; Ltr, Malony to Hopkins, 13 Jun 42. Bk V, Hopkins 
Papers. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



165 



Inability to support more transports in India was the other half of the 
Army's problems in expanding air tonnage into China, the first being the 
world-wide shortage of transports and crews. Since 4 May the War Department 
and the White House had been aware of the logistical problem in India. The 
only Assam field for the air ferry was Dinjan. Shared by the transports, AAF 
and RAF fighters, and transient craft, it was saturated. Worse yet, Dinjan had 
no warning net, and lack of spare parts grounded ten of the thirty-five trans- 
ports available in July. A further obstacle to flying lend-lease tonnage into 
China was the priority of Chennault's air force on whatever was flown into 
China. Therefore, Stilwell warned that for months to come not more than 
5 or 10 percent of the monthly allotments of lend-lease material the War 
Department was discussing with the Chinese would be airlifted. It was a grave 
error, he wrote, to build Chinese hopes with promises that could not be ful- 
filled. 46 

Even War Department efforts to bring the Chinese to a more realistic 
appraisal of the airline's problems were useless, for the Chinese answer to 
objections and arguments was always simply: "More aircraft!" They told the 
President and Hopkins that four-motored aircraft were much more airworthy 
than twin-engined, able to fly when the twin-engined could not, and therefore 
the answer to the problem of monsoon weather. 

There was a price attached to assignment of transport aircraft to the CBI, 
for they were in great demand in other theaters, a factor sometimes overlooked 
in the heat of controversy. If the choices before the War Department had been 
only two, either to place transports and crews on the Hump or to use them on 
domestic airlines, then there could have been no further argument. But this 
was not the case. The CCS, the President, and the Prime Minister were now 
on record that the main effort should be made in Europe. Airborne operations 
could, and did, play a great role in the projected cross-Channel assault. Every 
transport sent to the CBI area was a diversion from the main effort, and the 
War Department so regarded the matter all during the war. 

In June 1942 Stilwell and Arnold joined to ask that 75 transports be placed 
in service (as against the 100 projected) on the airline to China, or Hump, as it 
was coming to be called from the massive hump of mountains crossed by the 
transports on their way to China. Stilwell wanted the 75 transports by August 
1942, but OPD again pointed out the diversion from Bolero, and so the 
target date was deferred to March 1943. 47 

46 (1) History cited n. 41(1). (2) Ltr, McCloy to Hopkins, 4 May 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 

(3) CM-IN 6354, Chungking to AGWA-R, 18 Jun 42. (4) CM-IN 6551, Karachi to AG WAR, 
19 Jun 42. (5) CM-IN 2686, Naiden to Marshall, 7 Jul 42. 

47 (1) Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 15 Jun 42; Ltr, Hopkins to Arnold, 15 Jun 42; Ltr, Roosevelt 
to Arnold, 15 Jun 42; Memo, Arnold for Hopkins, 18 Jun 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. (2) Memo, 
Handy for Marshall, 14 Aug 42, sub: Three Minimum Reqmts for China Theater Submitted by 
Generalissimo. WDCSA (China), A45-466. (3) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 538. 

(4) Rad, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Sep 42. Item 41, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (5) JCS 30th Mtg, 
25 Aug 42, par. 7. 




SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAIN PEAKS OF THE HIMALAYAS on the airline to China. 
Photograph, taken in 1944, shows a C-~4b transport plane flying over the Hump. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



167 



As a result of these difficulties, plus some administrative ineptitude, the 
Ferry Command flew 80 tons to China in May, 106 in June, and 73 in July. 
Chinese dissatisfaction was unconcealed. Stilwell was very critical, writing: 

1. Tents, tent-pins, GI cans, and field ranges coming in to Kunming via transport plane. 

2. No attention to capacity. CNAC [China National Aviation Corporation] 4,700 lbs, 
USA, 3,500 lbs. 

3. Many incomplete loads in and out. Crew chiefs riding. Why not group them for 
maintenance on the ground? 

4. Pilfering going on along the line. 

5. CNAC flying regularly when weather keeps us [AAF] grounded. . . . 48 

Soong's Warning 

The hardening U.S. attitude on lend-lease, coming as it did during the 
disastrous Burma campaign and at the start of the Japanese Chekiang drive, 
disturbed the Chinese. As a remedy the Chinese asked that Hopkins, who was 
head of the Munitions Assignments Board and a good friend of China, fly to 
Chungking to review Sino- American relations. Hopkins' health and his great 
responsibilities would not permit him to go, and the President decided to send 
Dr. Currie instead. Currie began his preparations for the long trip. 49 

On 20 June Stilwell reported to the War Department that the air ferry 
line could not bring a tenth of what the Chinese expected to China. He was 
not complacent about it, for when a garbled radio two days before had distorted 
his position and said he wanted only "10" transports on the Hump, he hastened 
to clarify it by telling General Arnold that he understood 100 transports were 
to be available for ferry service, that this number would be "sufficient under 
present conditions." 50 

The Munitions Assignments Committee (Ground) knew that there were 
45,000 tons of Chinese lend-lease stockpiled in India and that the May and June 
shipments would add another 7,000 tons. In the light of this, and knowing that 
only a few hundred tons would be flown to China in the next few months, the 
committee contemplated releasing but 400 tons as the July assignment. On 22 
June General Aurand, Chairman of the Munitions Assignments Committee 
(Ground), recommended that no assignment to China be made for July. The 
OPD member of the committee, Brig. Gen. Thomas T. Handy, objected on the 
ground that Stilwell's position in getting the Generalissimo to place Chinese 

48 (1) SNF-12. (2) History cited |n. 41flTI( 3) MS, History of the India Burma Theater, 
24 Jun 45-31 May 46, Chart facing p 3UU. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

49 Rad, Chiang to Roosevelt, 27 May 42, including Note from Soong to Hopkins, 1 Jun 42; 
Memo, Currie for Hopkins, 1 Jun 42, including Msg from Mme. Chiang to Currie, 31 May 42. Bk V, 
Hopkins Papers. 

50 ( 1) Memo, Wheeler for Sibert, 4 Jun 42, sub: Emergency Air Transport Program for China; 
1st Ind, Naiden to Stilwell, 7 Jun 42. Item 159, Corresp Folder (Jul 42-Nov 43), CT 23, Dr 2, 
KCRC. Naiden said delivery of 150 tons a day for the next six months was an impossibility. (2) 
Rad AD 122, Stilwell to Arnold, 18 Jun 42. SNF-12. (3) CM-IN 6354, Stilwell to Marshall, 20 
Jun 42. 



168 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



troops in India would be compromised by Aurand's recommendation. The case 
was referred to the Munitions Assignments Board and the CCS. Meanwhile, 
Soong somehow managed to keep informed of the U.S. attitude and action on 
China's July assignment. 51 

Soong's understanding of what Stilwell was telling his American superiors 
is given in a radio from him to Stilwell on 17 June 1942: 

Following message for General Stilwell through Madame Chiang Kai-shek from Minister 
T. V. Soong: 

Have been following with admiration your valiant exertion. Trust you are recovering 
rapidly from arduous trip. We have been much encouraged by your advocating of rearma- 
ment plan for thirty divisions and wish to thank you. I have put up to the President most 
effectively [jif] immediate aids to China are: 

1. American air force unit operating in China. 

2. Large scale air transport from India to China. 

In this connection I wish to observe that American production of combat and transport 
airplanes has amazingly increased since your departure for China. U.S. War Department is 
acting on our request but in the absence of supporting telegram from you rather slowly. You 
must realize miraculous hold you have in this country from President, Secretary, and Chief of 
Staff downward and that any request from you will be supported even including the despatch 
of American division to India for the recovery of Burma. Kindest regards. 52 

On learning of the Munitions Assignments Committee's attitude toward the 
July assignment, Soong sent scathing memorandums to Hopkins and McCloy, 
in which he charged that Stilwell inspired the committee's viewpoint. 53 
Ignoring the Indian stockpile, Soong stated that China wanted 3,500 tons a 
month assigned to her or nothing at all, an implied threat to abolish the China 
Theater. On 20 June Soong pleaded his case in a note to the President and 
Prime Minister, then meeting in Washington. Reminding them through 
Hopkins of past commitments to China, Soong delivered his demarche, the 
prediction that inter- Allied co-operation in the form of China Theater would 
cease if the United States abrogated the 3,500-ton emergency air transport 
program. 54 

Telephone calls, reassuring letters, and friendly conversation from American 
officials during the next few days were only mild sedatives for the angered 
Soong, who for weeks had been reporting every adverse development to his 

51 (1) Ltr, Soong to McCloy, 18 Jun 42. ASW 400.336 (China). (2) Min, entry 515, MAC(G) 
35th Mtg, 22 Jun 42. (3) Min, MAB 21st Mtg, 24 Jun 42. 

52 Rad, Soong to Mme. Chiang for Stilwell, 17 Jun 42. SNF-12. 

"(1) Ltr citec fn"2^>(2^.| (2) Ltr, Soong to McCloy, 18 Jun 42. ASW 400.336 (China). (3) 
Ltr, Soong to HopKmT^uTun 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 

54 Ltr, with Memo, Soong to Hopkins, 20 Jun 42; Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 23 Jun 42; Ltr, 
Currie to Hopkins, 23 Jun 42, with atchd Msg from T. Franklin Ray, Jr., Office of Lend-Lease 
Administration, 21 Jun 42, on status of Chinese lend-lease stockpile in India; Note, Hopkins to 
Currie, 24 Jun 42, in which HopkinTTaid that he was^taking immediate steps to halt the Munitions 
Assignments Committee (Ground) recommendation to stop the July assignment; Memo, Hopkins 
for Burns, 24 Jun 42; Memo, Burns for Hopkins, 25 Jun 42, sub: Mun to China; Memo, Soong 
for Hopkins, 25 Jun 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



169 



government. 55 Then came the climax. As early as 17 June American observers 
in Cairo had warned that the Allied position in the Middle East was deteriorat- 
ing, that reinforcements were needed if Egypt and the Suez Canal were to be 
held. There was especial need of heavy bombers to cut the Axis supply route 
from Italy to Africa. Heeding these warnings, Marshall asked Stilwell to survey 
the B-17 position in India. On 23 June came the order sending Brereton, the 
B-17's, and the transports to Egypt. Brereton's removal was called a temporary 
diversion after which the aircraft would return to Stilwell's command. Simul- 
taneously, Stilwell was told that a flight of A-29's en route to China would be 
held up at Khartoum, Egypt. 56 

The decision to move Brereton and to hold the A-29's was made at a White 
House conference, and the decision's possible consequences had been con- 
sidered. Afterward, it was conceded in OPD that the Chinese, both in Washing- 
ton and in Chungking, had not been approached tactfully, nor had Stilwell been 
brought into the situation in a manner appropriate to his delicate and complex 
position. Though Marshall said that sending Brereton to Egypt caused diffi- 
culty with the Generalissimo, in retrospect it appears as merely the last of a 
long series of irritants and disappointments. 57 

The Generalissimo's Anger 

Stilwell now had the painful duty of presenting the bad news of Brereton's 
transfer and the A-29 situation to the Generalissimo. The Chinese minutes 
record: 

The Generalissimo saw General Stilwell at 11 a. m. on June 26th, 1942. Present were 
Madame Chiang, General Grober [sic, Gruber] and General Bissel [sic]. Following is the 
gist of the conversation: 

Stilwell: I greatly regret that I have to report some bad news, though it is of temporary 
nature. General Brereton has been ordered by Washington to proceed to Egypt immediately 
with the heavy bombers from India. He would be given all transport planes which he needs 
for the transportation of the personnel and outfit for the bombers. This would reduce the 
tonnage of material sent from India to China. 

Gissimo: What is the number of heavy bombers sent from India to Egypt, and what is 
the number of transport planes required for carrying the personnel and outfit? 

"(1) Memo, Brig Gen St. Clair Streett for Gen Handy, 29 Jun 42, sub: Restrictions on Move- 
ment of Dawson Mission [A-29]. OPD 452.1 (Middle East) Sec 2, A47-30. (2) The General- 
issimo mentioned Soong's reports to Stilwell on 26 June 1942. Min, Conf, Stilwell and 
Generalissimo, 26 Jun 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (3) Burns called Soong to reassure 
him that the Munitions Assignments Committee (Ground) decision was being altered. Memo, 
Burns for Hopkins, 2 5 Jun 42. Bk V, Hopkins Papers. (4) In a telephone conversation with 
Brig. Gen. Walter B. Smith, General Handy explained that it had been difficult to contact Soong 
and members of the Chinese Embassy staff in Washington. Tp Conv record, Handy with Smith, 
29 Jun 42. Bk 6, OPD Exec 8. 

56 (1) CM-IN's cited n. 18. (2) CM-IN 6689, Aquila to AGWAR, 20 Jun 42. (3) CM-OUT 
5699, OPD to Stilwell, 24 Jun 42. (4) CM-IN 7816, Stilwell to AGWAR, 24 Jun 42. (5) 
CM-OUT 6075, AGWAR to Stilwell, 24 Jun 42. 

57 (1) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 598-99. (2) Memo cited n. 55(1). (3) Tp Conv 
record cited n. 55(4). (4) The Brereton Diaries, 9 Aug 42, p. 145. 



170 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Stilwell: I have received no information concerning the number of heavy bombers that 
are being sent to Egypt. The number of transport planes to be required will depend upon 
the number of heavy bombers to be sent. I have still another bad news to report. A squadron 
of light bombers, A-29, which were on their way from America to China, have been diverted 
at Kaharitum {sic, Khartoum], south of Cairo, for use in Egypt. I believe that the situation 
in the Near East must be very critical. 

Gissimo: How many of the A-29 light bombers have been so diverted? 

Stilwell: I do not know. However I do know that the number of A-29 bombers being 
sent by America to China is 33. I am unable to tell how many of them have been diverted 
for use in Egypt. The telegram from Washington did not mention whether there would be 
replacements for them or whether those A-29 bombers which would arrive in Egypt later 
would continue their journey to China. I do not like this news. The third matter which I 
wish to report concerns a telegram received from New Dehli [sic ] in which General Wavell 
inquired whether you would approve of Ramga [sic, Ramgarh] as the site for the quartering 
of Chinese troops in India, and if you should approve of this site, he would assign it to the 
Chinese troops. In my opinion Ramga is the best place to quarter the Chinese troops. The 
climate there is good. 

Generalissimo: Exactly what is the status of the 10th U.S. Air Force in India from 
which heavy bombers are being detached for use in Egypt. 

Stilwell: The 10th U.S. Air Force has been assigned for use in the China Theater of 
War and Burma and placed under my command. 

Generalissimo: Since you are my chief of staff, my approval should be secured of the 
disposition of the 10th U.S. Air Force. 

Stilwell: You are right. I have made repeated efforts to bring the 10th U.S. Air Force 
to China as early as possible. {The American minutes do not record StilwelPs agreeing or 
even responding to the Generalissimo's observation.] 

Generalissimo: President Roosevelt in his telegram to me stated that he had ordered 
the transfer of the 10th U.S. Air Force from India to China for use. His order cannot be 
lightly changed. If it were contended that the situation in Egypt is grave, I must point out 
that the Chinese situation in Chekiang and Kiangsi is no less critical. 

Madame: Every time when the British suffered a defeat, they took away our war equip- 
ment or that which had been promised to us. Such being the case there is no need for China 
to continue the war. 

Stilwell: I myself have objected to this diversion of war material from China. At one 
time, when Washington intended to assign the 10th U.S. Air Force to General Wavell for 
control, I raised strong objection and made it clear that if I could not get back the air force 
for use in China I prefer to be relieved of my duties in this country. What has now hap- 
pened is a great surprise to you as well as to me [sic]. 

Madame: What are we going to do about this? Can we stop the movement of heavy 
bombers to Egypt? 

Stilwell: The bombers are already on their way to Egypt and I do not think their 
movement can now be stopped. The news about the sending of heavy bombers to Egypt 
is bad enough, but what is even worse in the diversion of A-29 light bombers from China. 
Heavy bombers are not suitable for the Libya campaign. All the pursuit planes and medium 
bombers of the 10th U.S. Air Force however remain in India. 

Generalissimo: I am unhappy about this development. The China Theater of War 
is lightly regarded. Naturally I wish to know whether America and Britain consider it as 
one of the Allied Theaters. 

Madame: You should send some important member of your mission to Washington 
and place the matter before the high authorities there. 

Stilwell: I am sending General Grobel [sic] to Washington on such a mission. 

Generalissimo: All I wish to know is whether they don't care about the China Theater 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



171 



of War. I would like you to get a clear-cut answer on this point. In the past China has done 
her very best in upholding the Allied cause, and has fulfilled her obligations faithfully. 
For five years she has fought not only for herself but also for the Allies. If America and 
Britain felt the need of maintaining h~r strength for resistance, they should not continuously 
pay scant attention to her. The way China is now being treated shows that she is out of the 
picture altogether. 

Stilwell: This is not so. We attach much importance to the China Theater of War. 
What has been done is out of ignorance on the part of American officers in Washington 
concerning the situation in China. 

Generalissimo: Since President Roosevelt in his telegram promised to supply China 
with planes and war materials she needs, what is being done amounts to disobedience of 
his orders. I do not suppose that President would approve of all this change. Less than ten 
per cent of what he had agreed to give to China has been supplied. I do not entertain any 
doubt that the President is sincere. What has been done is perhaps without his consent or 
knowledge. As chief of staff to me, you are responsible for seeing to it that the promised 
material is forthcoming. 

Stilwell: I have tried my very best in getting the people in Washington to supply 
China with more planes, ground troops, more war material, and even with one American 
division. All that Washington replied is that there is a great lack of shipping space for 
sending them to China. 

Generalissimo: Telegrams which I have received from Dr. T. V. Soong stated that the 
War Department told him that they are waiting for your recommendations which have not 
yet been sent by you. 

Stilwell: It is absurd. This is not the case. The War Department has a list of priorities 
to supply. 

Madame: Another telegram from Dr. Soong states that replying to the War Depart- 
ment's inquiry whether you needed more transport planes, you said that you do not need 
any more. 

Stilwell: In regard to this, I remembered having wired that for the present we can 
make use of 100 transport planes although as a matter of fact the fields here in China can 
accommodate only 50 planes. 

Generalissimo: In one of his telegrams to me President Roosevelt mentioned that he 
had already handed over 425 or 440 planes (I cannot remember the exact figure), but I do 
not know where they are. 

Stilwell: These planes must be between America and India. 

Madame: Have any of them been diverted? 

Bissell: I understand we have 20 B-17, or Flying Fortresses, in India, which either 
wholly or partially are being sent to Egypt. 

The Chinese minutes end here; the American version of the conference 
closes on a dramatic note supplied by Madame Chiang Kai-shek: 

The Generalissimo must make a speech at the end of the fifth year [of the Chinese war] 
on 7 July. He must tell the Chinese people the truth at that time. The pro-Japanese element 
is very active. The Generalissimo wants a yes or r.o answer to whether the Allies consider 
this theater necessary and will support it. 58 

,8 (1) Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell ana Generalissimo, 1100, 26 Jun 42. StilweU 
Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Memo of Conf at llOO, 26 Jun 42, Bissell, recorder, for Stilwell 
and Mme. Chiang. Memoranda for Mme. CKS Folder (May-Sep 42), CT 2 3, Dr 2, KCRC. (3) 
The Generalissimo's frequent references to telegrams from the President cannot be documented 
from War Department files. These assurances or support possibly could have been transmitted to 
Chungking via Navy or State Department channels and not communicated to Stilwell. It is more 
probable that the Generalissimo is referring to radios received from Soong's transmitter in Wash- 



172 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The contrast between Soong's 17 June radio, with its acknowledgment of 
Stilwell's recommending arms for the Thirty Divisions, and the Generalissimo's 
statement that Soong was charging Stilwell had sent no recommendations and 
desired no more transports for the Hump, implanted in Stilwell an immediate 
distrust of the Chinese Foreign Minister that he never quite lost. 59 

Stilwell quickly advised Marshall of this virtual ultimatum from the 
Chinese. 60 Appraising the situation to himself, Stilwell concluded that the 
crisis was simply a larger version of the tense period following the diversion of 
the Tenth Air Force to Wavell's support in April. Stilwell believed that because 
of the President's reaction to the Generalissimo's message the Chinese had 
concluded that "violent protests" would give them the "upper hand" where the 
allocation of U.S. resources was concerned. 61 

Stilwell's radio to Marshall stirred official Washington, and Currie's trip to 
China was expedited. 62 When the President's reply was sent on 27 June, it was, 
as Stilwell noted, "quiet and dignified and promised nothing." 63 

Stilwell received an appointment with the Generalissimo and met with him 
and Madame Chiang on 29 June. The President's message was delivered, and 
Stilwell received from the Generalissimo the "three minimum requirements 
essential for the maintenance of the China Theater of War." They were: 

1. Three American divisions should arrive in India between August and September to 
co-operate with the Chinese Forces in restoring the line of communication through Burma. 

2. Beginning from August the Air Force in the China Theater of War should consist of 
500 planes continuously fighting at the front. This strength must be maintained without 
interruption by necessary replacements. 

3. Beginning from August, the monthly aerial transportation should be 5,000 tons. 64 

In the conference the Chiangs made it abundantly clear that the 28 June note 
was an ultimatum. Indeed, Madame Chiang made delivery of the A-29's the 
test of whether the Allies wanted China Theater. 

These were what came to be called, simply, the Three Demands. The 
second and third were already familiar, and Stilwell had previously urged that 

ington, allegedly quoting the President. Thus, on 1 July 1942 Madame Chiang stated that "she had 
received, under date of June 18th, from Soong, a statement that the President had made available 
for the Generalissimo the 10th Air Force for employment in China." Memo of Mtg, Stilwell and 
Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, 1 Jul 42. Memoranda for Mme. CKS Folder (May-Sep 42), CT 23, Dr 2, 
KCRC. No communication to that effect was ever received by Stilwell from higher authority. 
Soong's statement is completely inconsistent with the White House decision to send the Tenth's 
B-17's to Egypt. 

59 The Stilwell Papers, pp. 120, 123, 126, 130-31. 

60 (1) CM-IN 8586, Stilwell to Marshall, 26 Jun 42. (2) CM-IN 8933, Stilwell to Marshall, 
27jun42. . . 

6l (l) The diversion of the Tenth Air Force is ii^Charner^Vjabove . (2) History of Blackmail, 
Stilwell B&W Probably written on 22 July 1942, judging by dates on succeeding entries. 

62 (1) Memo, Moore for Marshall, 27 Jun 42. WDCSA (China), A45-266. (2) Memo, Deane 
for Marshall, 28 Jun 42. Statement, Marshall before War Council, 6 Jul 42. WDCSA, Notes of 
War Council, A48-139. 

6) (1) CM-OUT 7014, Roosevelt to Chiang, 27 Jun 42. Stilwell delivered this message in 
person on 29 June 1942. (2) Quotation from The Stilwell Papers, p. 121. 

64 Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, 28 Jun 42. SNF-12. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



173 



the War Department provide them, plus one or more American divisions, 
though with a great deal more thought to their logistic implications. Consist- 
ent with his previous practice, the Generalissimo had not mentioned what his 
matching contributions to China Theater would be. Though Stilwell could not 
concur in the time limits the Generalissimo had set, he was convinced the 
War Department should adopt the Three Demands as a goal to be met when 
the air ferry was fully operational. The Three Demands went to Washington, 
which began to weigh them and prepare an answer. 65 

Stilwell' s Staff and Command Roles Upheld 

Having tried to test the U.S. attitude toward China with the Three 
Demands, the Chinese moved on to test Stilwell's authority. They asked 
Stilwell if two lend-lease transports operating for China National Aviation 
Corporation could be reassigned to the Generalissimo. 66 "Feeler," wrote 
Stilwell, "I can't duck that one." 67 He met it by answering that while the 
Generalissimo might have the transports as lend-lease essential for the prosecu- 
tion of the war, he could not obtain U.S. munitions by ordering Stilwell as 
his chief of staff to procure them. 68 Then, to avoid future misunderstandings 
and attempts at the extension of the Generalissimo's powers, such as the 
Chinese leader's belief that he controlled the Tenth Air Force, Stilwell spelled 
out his several roles : 

(1)1 am the United States Government representative on any war council held in 
China. ... I present and maintain the policy of the United States as it is communicated 
tome. . . . 69 

(2) I am in command of U.S. Forces in CBI and therefore have the responsibility beyond 
the limits of China Theater. Since Burma and India are not in the China war theater, I have 
to co-operate with the British in those areas. In China . . . the Generalissimo is Supreme 
and commands all forces that operate there. 70 

(3) I am charged with the supervision and control of lend-lease material and am to 
decide the place and time that title passes. After title passes, the Generalissimo controls the 
disposition of material. I was given to understand that lend-lease equipment would be 
employed in the effective prosecution of the war and in such matters I act as the representa- 
tive of the President who can under law recall lend-lease materials at any time prior to 
delivery. 71 

65 (1) CM-IN 0560, Stilwell to Marshall, 1 Jul 42. (2) CM-IN 2385, Stilwell to Marshall, 
3 Jul 42. 

66 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 121. (2) "The Madame (Chiang) also raised the question of the 
Generalissimo's authority to divert CNAC lend-lease planes to the Chinese Air Force. General 
Stilwell was requested to render an opinion on the Generalissimo's authority." Memo of Mtg, 
Stilwell with Mme. Chiang, 1 Jul 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

67 Stilwell B&W, 1 Jul 42. 

68 Ltr, Hearn to authors, 12 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. Hearn urged Stilwell and Bissell 
to adopt this answer to the Generalissimo's challenge. 

69 See Soong-Stimson accord, 23-30 January 1942, Chapter II, above. 

70 See 2 February 1942 presidential directive, and Arcadia paper, ABC 4/9, Chapter II, above. 

71 See Soong-Stimson accord, 2 3 -^0 Ja nuary 1942, MAB Directive, 14 May 1942, and McCloy 
letter to Soong, June 1942, Chapters] II |and[V^]above. 



174 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



(4) I am Chief of Staff of the Generalissimo's Joint Staff which functions when forces 
of the Allies carry on operations in China war theater in connection with the Chinese Army. 
As Chief of Staff my duties are concerned with planning, organization, training, and opera- 
tion in the field and do not extend to procurement of materials. I prepare plans as directed 
by the Generalissimo and when they are approved by him transmit them to various con- 
tingents for execution. 72 

(5) And intrinsically I have my basic status as an officer of the United States Army 
sworn to uphold the interests of the United States. 

(6) Within the above limitations my only objective is the effective prosecution of the 
war. . . . 73 

Pondering the techniques of negotiation he met, Stilwell wrote: 

Next thing will be: "Can the G-mo order transports off the freight line?" We'll have 
to stop him there, and claim it's an SOS function, so Wheeler, who has the responsibility 
for delivery, must also have undivided authority. Same old story— edge in on one thing at 
a time, and every time you get it ask for the next one. Never by any chance say "thank you." 
For instance, we charter the CNAC at big prices to get [personnel for two squadrons of] 
the 10th AF moved. They listen without a word and pass to something else. 74 

The Generalissimo's strong reaction to Stilwell's note of explanation of his 
staff and command roles suggested he was testing not only Stilwell's position 
but the whole fabric of U.S. lend-lease policy. He at once protested to the Presi- 
dent about the two transports, complaining that Stilwell had forced the 
Supreme Commander of the China Theater to "beg" for lend-lease supplies 
already delivered to China. He claimed, "Clearly . . . this could not have been 
the original intention of the U.S. Government." If it was, the Generalissimo 
asked that Stilwell's dual responsibility to the American and Chinese Govern- 
ments be ended; "otherwise both military and political relations will be 
adversely affected. . . ." 111 

Obviously, the Generalissimo's anger and bitterness over the events of the 
past four months were now focused on Stilwell, who could only comment that 
he was the executor of U.S. policy toward China, not its author. From this time 
forward it was clear that Stilwell's recall would please the Generalissimo. For 
his part, Stilwell wrote presciently that the Generalissimo risked two things by 
persisting in his complaints and importunities: "(1) The definite loss of all sup- 
plies he was counting on from the U.S. and the big money that would be 
withdrawn, and (2) the loss of the sympathy of the American people, who are 
with him while he fights, but who won't back a quitter." 76 

The official position Stilwell took was that "it's [the Three Demands] still 
an ultimatum from the Generalissimo to the President, and so beyond my 

72 See Soong-Stimson accord, 23-30 January 1942, Chapter Fll above. 

7 ' } (1) Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 2 Jul 42. Item l^JOPD Exec 10. (2) The Stilwell 
Papers, p. 121. 

74 Stilwell B&W, 1 Jul 42. 

75 Soong delivered the Generalissimo's message to President Roosevelt on 5 July 1942. Memo, 
Chiang for Roosevelt, 5 Jul 42. Item 19, OPD Exec 10. 

76 (1) Quotation from The Stilwell Papers, pp. 125-26. (2) CM-IN 7340, Stilwell to Marshall, 
21 Jul 42. (3) CM-IN 9072, Stilwell to Marshall, 24 Jul 42. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



175 



province"— an obvious attempt to preserve his future usefulness by relegating 
discussions of Sino- American relations to those who controlled them, the 
President and the Generalissimo. 77 Since Stilwell took that stand, there was 
every reason why he should emphasize his position outside the conflict of 
policy by acting as the Generalissimo's chief of staff. So he continued, in early 
July, to send memorandums to the Generalissimo. 

Having received the Generalissimo's challenge to Stilwell's lend-lease 
authority, the President asked Marshall to draft a reply. Approved by the Presi- 
dent, Marshall's answer to the Generalissimo was given to Soong on 14 July. 
The sum of it was that even though Stilwell might be recalled, any successor 
would have exactly the same powers over lend-lease arms to which, the General- 
issimo objected in Stilwell and the same primary responsibility to the United 
States. Soong did not transmit this vital message in full but gave the General- 
issimo his own expurgated version, plus the gist of a conversation with the 
President. Marshall sent Stilwell an information copy of the President's message 
to the Generalissimo, which Stilwell delivered to the Chinese leader. The cor- 
rect text of the President's reply was displeasing to the Generalissimo, who 
retorted that if the President intended to send such a message, China Theater 
would go. Immediately, Soong was called to the White House and told that 
Stilwell's dual roles would be unaltered. 78 

The memorandums Stilwell sent to the Generalissimo in early July illustrate 
his attempt to function as the chief of staff of China Theater, despite the Three 
Demands crisis. In the first, he surveyed the military situation in China, esti- 
mated Japanese capabilities in every major sector, and concluded that Kunming 
was the logical target of the next Japanese effort and so should be more heavily 
protected by Chinese reinforcements. 79 Five days later he warned that an attack 
on Kunming airport by Japanese paratroops could disrupt the air transport line 
and Chennault's air operations. He asked that a Chinese regiment be stationed 
in Kunming to guard against such a thrust. 

He sent the Generalissimo comments on the belief among Chinese officers 
that "If China had enough planes and tanks and guns, it would be a simple 
matter to defeat the Japanese." First, Stilwell gave his views on the potentialities 
of air power: 

77 The Stilwell Papers, p. 121. 

78 (l)Memo, Hopkins for Marshall, 9 Jul 42. Item 19, OPD Exec 10. (2) Memos, Deane for 
Marshall, 13, 19 Jul 42. WDCSA, Notes of War Council, A48-139. (3) CM-OUT 4444, OPD to 
Stilwell, 16 Jul 42. (4) CM-OUT 6863, Marshall to Stilwell, 24 Jul 42. (5) Memo, McCloy for 
McNarney, 27 Jul 42. Item 19, OPD Exec 10. (6) CM-OUT 8454, Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Jul 42. 
(7) This incident did not mark an end to the Chinese practice of altering the President's messages 
to the Generalissimo to make them read more agreeably to their recipient. It was to continue until 
the President ordered in May 1944 that notes to the Generalissimo be delivered personally by the 
senior U.S. officer in Chungking. Memo, Roosevelt for Marshall, 3 May 44. Folder 1, Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek (GMO CKS), Item 58, OPD Exec 10. 

79 Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 2 Jul 42, sub: Prelim Estimate of Status Quo in China. 
Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



176 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



... In every case [Stilwell listed China, Britain, Germany, Malta], the damage has been 
severe, but no decision has been gained. This is because of the limitations of the airplane; it 
can do a great deal of damage, but it is still only an auxiliary of the ground forces, indispen- 
sable if a decision is to be reached, but incapable of reaching that decision by itself. The great 
limitation is that although it can neutralize an area, or deny it to the enemy for a time, it 
cannot hold ground. Only the troops on the ground can do that, and only by so doing can a 
decision be reached. 

Then, after discussing the capabilities of artillery and armor, Stilwell gave his 
analysis of German successes, 1939-42: 

All the foreign powers have come to the conclusion that the German successes so far are 
due mainly to three very fundamental things. These are: 

1. Excellent physical training. Basic stamina. 

2. The ability to use their weapons intelligently and efficiently under any circumstances. 

3. Excellent tactical instruction in the small units. 

These three things are placed first, ahead of special provision in the way of big guns, 
tanks, dive bombers, flame-throwers, and all the mechanical contrivances that the Germans 
have produced. They are even put ahead of the excellent German organization, system of 
command, the wide initiative allowed subordinates, and mere numbers. It is an illuminating 
commentary on the tremendous value of a solid foundation, on which an immense organiza- 
tion can be built and operated successfully. 

What did all this mean to China? Stilwell asked. 

China has in the field some 300 divisions. They cannot possibly be supported in the air 
by the proportion of planes considered necessary in Europe. Instead of 10,000 planes, we 
should be glad to have 500 available for combat. Neither is it possible to deliver or main- 
tain the mass of tanks that a European army would consider necessary. Neither is the artillery 
available in types or numbers that would be considered necessary for such a force. But there 
does exist a large reservoir of man power, armed fairly well with rifles, machine guns, and 
mortars. If the number of divisions could be reduced by 50 percent, the weapons available 
would go far toward fully equipping them, and the undesirable and physically unsuitable 
soldiers would be weeded out. By combining the available artillery, a large number of these 
divisions could be given effective fire support, and in action, the infantry of a division could 
be relieved, leaving its artillery in to support the new one. Artillery losses being small in 
proportion to infantry casualties, this doubling of artillery duty has been frequently practiced. 

This reduction of the total number of divisions, and amalgamation into complete units, 
with a normal complement of rifles, machine guns, and mortars, plus the improved artillery 
support contemplated would in my opinion greatly increase the combat strength of the 
Army. Much of the reorganization could be accomplished within the war zones where the 
troops are stationed, without too much displacement of units. It could be done progressively 
and quietly. A course of field training for small units could be carried out at the same time, 
and when completed the Generalissimo would have a well-equipped, mobile force in every 
war zone, ready to move at short notice, easily handled, and of far greater combat strength 
than before. 

I realize and appreciate the objections that are raised when changes in command are 
advocated. The Generalissimo alone can decide whether changes are worth while, and since 
I have already brought up the subject, I will not repeat it here, except to reiterate that an 
efficient unit deserves to have an efficient and capable commander. 

With no chance to train a relatively large force in India, where we have access to stocks 
of weapons and munitions, and with supplies in China reduced to the point where they must 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



177 



be conserved, the above procedure is strongly recommended as the most workable plan by 
which the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army can be raised to the point where it can 
meet successfully any crisis that may confront it. 80 

A memorandum from Stilwell on the joint staff for the China Theater of 
war told the Generalissimo that the proposal passed between the War Ministry 
and Stilwell "seems to be acceptable in general outline. . . . There is close 
enough agreement on the general plan to proceed with it." 81 The only major 
point not clarified by the plan was the circumstances under which it would 
come into operation. On this, however, Stilwell believed himself in agreement 
with the Generalissimo, so he suggested the Generalissimo proceed to designate 
the Chinese officers to serve on the staff. 

To these memorandums, the Chinese made no answer. 82 

Moving Toward a Compromise 

While waiting for Washington's reply to the Three Demands, Stilwell did 
what he could in China to lay the groundwork for a solution. He was convinced 
that the Generalissimo's hints of a separate peace were simply diplomatic 
maneuverings, a belief shared by Ambassador Gauss. 83 

On the sensitive question of lend-lease, Stilwell had, as he told the General- 
issimo, sent General Gruber back to the United States in haste. Gruber was 
ordered to plead for the restoration of the 3,500-ton emergency air transport 
program, with the argument that the saving to American arms supplies result- 
ing from cutting this program was insignificant compared to the resulting 
damage to Sino-American relations. Before Gruber reached Washington, 
Anglo-American differences on the July assignment of 3,500 tons to China had 
been resolved. The CCS continued the program only through July. So small 
a share of lend-lease was not in line with Stilwell's attitude as reflected in this 
diary entry: . . How can China do it alone? We are reduced to holding 
Yunnan and playing it out with the Tenth Air Force, and a trickle of 3,500 tons 
a month kept up only by my screaming. I can have this much as long as it 
strengthens my hand, but otherwise they'll cut even this dribble off." 84 

Working to find a solution of the Three Demands on which he, the 
Generalissimo, and the CCS might agree, Stilwell surveyed the future of China 
Theater. Because of the shipping situation, he did not expect U.S. infantry in 
CBI before summer 1943. If the War Department and the CCS intended China 
Theater ultimately to be developed, then Stilwell and his staff could continue 

80 Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 7 Jul 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

81 A second Memo^^tilfiLeU for Generalissimo, 7 Jul 42. Same file. 

82 See Illustration J P- 155H 

83 The Stilwell Papers, p. 126. 

84 (1) CCS 90, 90/1, 2, 10 Jul 42, sub: Jul Asgmt for China. (2) CCS 31st Mtg, 16 Jul 42, 
Item 4. (3) CM-OUT 5475, Marshall to Stilwell, 18 Jul 42. (4) Quotation from Stilwell Diary, 
23 Jul 42. 



178 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



as before, coaxing and persuading the Chinese into going on another year. On 
the other hand, he feared that the War Department might not have any serious 
plans for China Theater. Once the Chinese learned this, Stilwell's usefulness 
was gone. There was only one way out which did not depend on large resources 
obtained from the United States. The solution was to persuade the British and 
Chinese to join in retaking Burma. This might be done if the situations in 
North Africa, then menaced by the Axis, and in Yunnan, then threatened by 
the Japanese from Burma and Indochina, were cleared up. Once Rangoon was 
reopened, thought Stilwell, surely some shipping would be assigned to CBI 
and lend-lease would again flow into China. "Under the circumstances that 
prevail at present, this is the first step towards<a sustained counter-offensive, 
and only when the Yunnan threat is removed and the African crisis passed can 
it be set up." 85 

Having analyzed the situation in China Theater, and having concluded that 
reopening the line of communications from Rangoon to Kunming was the 
essential preliminary to a solution of strategic problems in China, Stilwell pro- 
ceeded to prepare a detailed memorandum on operations to reoccupy Burma. 
The memorandum he drafted 10 July, therefore, followed several days of 
intense intellectual effort in which Stilwell considered every aspect of his 
problems in attempting to support China. Stilwell's approach was objective 
and coldly professional, with nothing to suggest he was obsessed by a spirit 
of revenge for the defeat in Burma. 86 

Acting as chief of staff to the Generalissimo, Stilwell submitted his memo- 
randum to the Supreme Commander, China Theater, on 19 July. In so doing, 
he had two motives: to afford the Generalissimo a dignified solution to the 
Three Demands crisis, and to commit the Chinese to a course of action. If the 
Generalissimo displayed a willingness to engage the enemy, Stilwell reasoned, 
the War Department could hardly refuse him the means. With respect to the 
Chinese, the plan gave Stilwell a way to secure from them an indication of 
what they would do with the lend-lease they so eagerly sought. The plan also 
gave the War Department a chance to bargain with the Chinese, to propose 
that if the Chinese reformed a number of divisions to Stilwell's satisfaction, the 
United States would then arm them. 87 

In his black book Stilwell outlined the basis of his action: 

The only way I see now is to force the W.D.'s hand— (Burma)— and then get them to 
force CKS' hand, by making conditions for the help they would supply. I would ask for 
three Chinese divisions that I would pick, for each U.S. division supplied; complete com- 
mand of the mixed force, with power to punish and reward, promote and demote, and 
progressively increased authority and control of added units in case of success— five for one 

85 Memo, Stilwell, 10 Jul 42, sub: What is Future of China War Theater? SNF-12. 

86 (1) Memo, Stilwell, 10 Jul 42, sub: Plan for Retaking Burma. SNF-12. (2) For another view 
of Stilwell's motivation, see Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 210, 270-76. 

87 (1) Stilwell B&W, 20 Jul 42. (2) Memo, Stilwell for Marshall, 30 Jul 42. CCS 381, Burma 
(8-25-42), Sec 1. (3) CM- IN 0789, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Aug 42. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



179 



if we could get Burma back, ten for one if we took Hankow; twenty for one if we took 
Hsuchow. Then we would have something. 88 

He also explained his motives to the War Department: 

In order to carry out my mission of increasing the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army, 
trading must be the basis of action. Logic and reason, or personal influence, will not produce 
satisfactory results. Pressure and bargaining are the means that must be relied on. . . . If it 
is considered important to keep pressure on the Japanese, in spite of tremendous demands 
on our resources in other theaters, the War Department should know what the Chinese are 
prepared to contribute to the effort. The only way to be sure is to propose a plan under 
which they would have to commit themselves. 89 

Distinctly foreshadowed by Stilwell's April 1942 proposals, and reminiscent 
of the Generalissimo's 23 December 1941 paper, the 18 July memorandum 
called for Allied co-operation in retaking Burma. 

If the Japanese make no attempt to invade Yunnan this summer, a plan should be set up 
to retake Burma. Unless some preparations are made, the fall months will be lost and the 
arrival of material will be further delayed. It is of the utmost importance to again start a flow 
of munitions through Rangoon into China. 

1. The plan depends on the decision of the War Department. If shipping can be allotted 
to bring into Rangoon 30,000 tons a month for six months, the situation will be eased 
materially. (This supply will be principally artillery and small arms ammunition, bombs, 
guns, gasoline, trucks, tanks, etc.) 

2. Without British help, the project is not practicable. Washington should be asked to 
use its influence to get them to cooperate, and the value of a U.S. ground unit in India 
should be emphasized. If Chinese and American units are ready to move, the British could 
hardly fail to act to regain their own territory. 

3. The Chinese approach should be a statement of the case, and an offer to furnish an 
army of twenty picked divisions well backed up by artillery, if London and Washington will 
cooperate. The British should (a) put enough naval strength in the Bay of Bengal to con- 
trol it, (b) invade Burma via the Chindwin toward Shwebo and Mandalay, and (c) make a 
landing at Rangoon. The Chinese should attack towards Lashio, and from there towards 
Loilem and Mandalay. If U.S. units are available, they should either come in with the 
British along the Chindwin, or join in seizing Rangoon. The attacks toward Shwebo and 
Mandalay should get well under way before the attempt on Rangoon is made, and the 
Andamans should be occupied immediately before the attack at Rangoon. Enough aviation 
should be built up in India to cover these operations strongly. A parachute unit should be 
made available for the Rangoon operation. 

4. Unless positive action is taken to re-open Burma, the offer of U.S. help to China is 
meaningless. If the Chinese show a desire to do their part fully, the War Department can 
hardly disregard the request. . . . 90 

There were indications from the Chinese side that the Generalissimo was 
not averse to compromise and reconciliation. The most encouraging sign was 
the appointment of Stilwell as commander in chief of the Chinese Army in 
India, with Lo Cho-ying as his deputy. Stilwell's power was limited to re- 

88 Stilwell I WVX7 ?t) Tnl 4 ?. 

89 Memo cited |n. 87(2^1 

90 (1) Memo with Incl, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 18 Jul 42, sub: Suggested Ltr from General- 
issimgm President. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Ch. 11,1pp. 56-57, ICh. IV, pp. 
II 35-36, bbove. 1 1 



180 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



organization, training, and "directing." 91 But the picture was not growing 
uniformly brighter for on 10 July one of the ablest Chinese officers told Stilwell 
that the Generalissimo had ordered his war area commanders to "conserve their 
strength." 92 

The Generalissimo Modifies His Demands 

Therefore, when Dr. Currie arrived on 20 July he found considerable 
progress had already been made toward a solution of the Three Demands. By 
summer 1942 Currie had had a year of dealing with the Chinese and was con- 
versant with their methods and attitudes. He was therefore not unprepared for 
what he saw in Chungking though he had not been thoroughly briefed before- 
hand on the local command situation. Currie attacked his problems vigorously, 
talking with Stilwell and the Chinese. In the course of these exchanges the fact 
emerged that Soong had not presented the President's 12 July message to the 
Generalissimo but only his own highly expurgated version. Moreover, the 
Chinese claimed Soong had never explained the Soong-Stimson accord of 23-30 
January 1942 to his government. Currie immediately realized the effect of 
Soong's actions on Stilwell's and the President's relations with the General- 
issimo. 9J Currie also found the First Burma Campaign embittering Stilwell's 
relationship with the Generalissimo. Currie considered that Stilwell was at "no 
particular pains" to hide his resentment at having been handicapped by the 
Generalissimo's letters to the Chinese commanders, while the Generalissimo 
resented what he considered Stilwell's failure to obey his orders. In analyzing 
this situation, Currie made no mention of General Alexander, the Supreme 
Allied Commander in Burma, but described Stilwell as "Commander-in-Chief 
in the field," reported the issue as lying between Stilwell and the General- 
issimo, and expressed his opinion that Stilwell had "illusions" about his ability 
to command Chinese troops. 94 

Weighing his observations of Stilwell and the Chinese, Currie decided to 
back Stilwell's conceptions. He recommended the full restoration of the 
3,500-ton emergency air transport program, subject to Stilwell's periodic 
reviews. He also urged that the President give Stilwell a copy of every presi- 
dential message to the Chinese. The President agreed. The War Department 
helped with the news that China's lend-lease requisitions would be fitted into 
the 3,500-ton program, which might even be increased. 95 

In one phase of the negotiations Currie attempted to clear up the confusion 

9i(l) Memo, FAB/NMC 60, Shang Chen for Stilwell, 2 Jul 42. SNF-12. (2) Translation of 
Ltr O, Chiang to Stilwell, 14 Jul 42. SNF-77 Generals Liao, Sun, and Lo were placed under 
Stilwell. 

s> 2 Stilwell Black Book, 10 Jul 42. 

"(I) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 128-31. (2) Stilwell Diary, 25, 27, 31 Jul 42. (3) CM-IN9776, 
Currie to Roosevelt, 28 Jul 42. (4) Rpt, Currie to Roosevelt, 24 Aug 42, sub: Rpt on Visit to 
China. OPD 336 China (24 Aug 42), A47-30. 

9" Rpt cited n. 93(4). 

95(1) CM-OUT 8122, Gruber to Stilwell, 28 Jul 42. (2) CM-IN 9776, Currie to Roosevelt, 
28 Jul 42. (3) CM-OUT 8454, Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Jul 42. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



181 



caused by Soong's alleged failure to explain StilwelPs status to the Chinese 
Government along the lines of the Soong-Stimson accord of January 1942. 
While so engaged Currie told General Ho that, because no Allied staff had yet 
been set up for China Theater, StilwelPs role as Chief of Staff, China Theater, 
was confined to those sections of China Theater which lay outside the terri- 
torial boundaries of the Republic of China. Since, as of July 1942, the bound- 
aries of China Theater and the Republic of China coincided exactly, Stilwell's 
role inside China thus appeared to be eliminated. 96 

The Chinese quickly saw the difference between Stilwell's and Currie's 
description of Stilwell's powers, and Soong at once brought the matter to 
Marshall's attention. McCloy answered for the War Department: 

It is our understanding that General Stilwell is the Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo's 
Joint Staff which functions when forces of the Allies carry on operations anywhere in China 
Theater. As Chief of Staff his duties are concerned with planning, organization, training, and 
operations in the field. He prepares plans as directed by the Generalissimo and when they 
are approved by him transmits them to various contingents for execution. 97 

Responding to Currie's visit, the Generalissimo gave concrete indication of 
conciliatory feelings by agreeing orally on 27 July to Stilwell's 18 July pro- 
posals for a Burma campaign. 98 Stilwell immediately submitted to the General- 
issimo on 29 July an ambitious proposal for a general Pacific offensive in which 
the now-approved Burma operation took its proper place. If the Generalissimo 
approved, the Chinese leader could then send this Pacific Front plan to the 
President and Prime Minister as China's suggestion for Allied operations in 
the Pacific. In a covering letter Stilwell made it clear that his proposal was in 
the nature of a suggestion for possible future planning. Stilwell explained he 
was in no position to commit the United States to any course of action. 99 

The formal approval of Stilwell's 18 July memorandum came from the 
Chinese on 1 August. It modified the Three Demands in that one U.S. divi- 
sion, 500 planes, and 5,000 tons would be acceptable to the Chinese without 
specifying a deadline for fulfillment. The Generalissimo clearly described 
China's contribution to a future Burma operation. The memorandum read: 

In acknowledging the receipt of your Memorandum, dated July 18th, the Generalissimo 
directs me to inform you that the Chinese Government is in full agreement with your pro- 
posed plan to retake Burma and appreciates its significance both from the political and mili- 
tary points of view. But in order to insure that the campaign will be successfully carried out, 
your attention is particularly invited to the following three points: 

96 CM-IN 9776, Currie to Roosevelt, 28 Jul 42. 

97 (1) Ltr, McCloy to Soong 18 Aug 42. ASW 400.336 (China). (2) CM-OUT 5982, Marshall 
to Stilwell, 19 Aug 42. (3) Seel p. 156,1 above. 
98 Stilwell Diary, 27 Jul 42.' 1 

"(1) Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 29 Jul 42, sub: Pacific Front Proposal. Stilwell Docu- 
ments, Hoover Library. (2) After Currie's return the Stilwell proposal became CCS 104, 29 Aug 
42, sub: Pacific Front Plan Presented by Generalissimo. (3) Memo, Stilwell for Marshall, 30 Jul 42, 
with Incl A, Memo, U.S. Secy, CPS, for Brig Gen Albert C. Wedemeyer, JPS, 16 Mar 43, sub: 
Plan for Retaking Burma. ABC 384, Burma (8-25-42), Sec 2, A48-224. 



182 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



1. The occupation of the Andamans, the giving of support to the armed forces to land 
at Rangoon and, later on, the controlling of the Bay of Bengal, as well as the giving of sup- 
port to transports to unload supplies at Rangoon;— the accomplishment of all these depends 
on the British Navy and Royal Air Force in making their greatest effort. Whether Great 
Britain can really make such an effort, only the British Government is in a position to say. 
It is therefore deemed necessary that the attitude of Great Britain in this case should first 
be ascertained and that she be urged to act. 

2. Regarding the suggestion that one to three divisions of U.S. ground units should 
assist the British to attack Shwebo and Mandalay via the Chindwin, it is imperative that the 
time required for the building of the road between India and Burma should be figured out 
well in advance and road construction be pushed with all speed. Otherwise, to launch an 
attack merely with light arms will have little chance of success. 

3. China is able with effort to concentrate in Western and Southern Yunnan an army of 
twenty picked divisions backed up with necessary artillery . . . (there are at present 36D, 
87D and 88D of 7lA; 49D, 93D and N28D [New 28th Division] of 6A; 82D, 139D and 
141D of 32A; and 2RD [2d Reserve Division]; to which may be later added 9D, 76D and 
N33D of 2A; 24D, 196D and T57D [Temporary-57th Division] of 76A; and also 54A when 
necessary) . . . and to attack from Lashio. Judging from our equipments and experiences 
in the past, the Chinese troops can be expected to hold up the enemy's main force in Burma 
and eventually to deal him a decisive blow. But to attain the military objective of storming 
the enemy's strongholds and capturing strategic points, no success can be achieved without 
the effective assistance of the air force. This is not possible with the minimum of air force 
that has recently been decided upon to be put into operation in the front. Furthermore, the 
concentration of armed units, the establishment of supply depots and the transportation of 
supplies are also difficult problems which must be satisfactorily solved in order to meet the 
exigencies of war. 100 

Accepting Stil well's Pacific Front proposals of 29 July, the Generalissimo 
aske d Currie to bring them before the President and the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff. |(Afo/> ,5) | The Pacific Front plan called for the retaking of Burma by 12 
divisions from Yunnan, and 1 U.S. and 3 British divisions, with the 2 divisions 
of the Chinese Army in India driving from Manipur State. These Allied forces 
would converge above Mandalay, then fan out across south Burma, Thailand, 
and to the coast of Indochina. The Allied advances from India called for no 
grandiose road construction since the Imphal-Tamu-Kalewa-Shwebo roads 
could be used. In Yunnan, the Chinese would establish a troop reserve at 
Kunming and would use 9 divisions along the Indochina border for offensives 
aimed at Hanoi and Haiphong or at Canton and Hong Kong, or eventually at 
both areas. Outside the Asiatic theater, there would be an Allied offensive 
north from Australia, and the U.S. Navy would make an all-out attack on 
Japanese communications. 

On 4 August Stilwell's artillery officer, Colonel Dorn, sent an outline of 
the Pacific Front plan to the War Department and added a personal note for 
General Handy of OPD: 

We all believe that the Generalissimo must be handled on an "ultimatum basis"; be told 
in plain language what he must do and be given a very short time in which to decide and 



100 Ltr, FAB/NMC 82, Shang Chen to Stilwell, 1 Aug 42. SNF-73. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



183 




MAP 5 



reply. If he threatens to make peace with Japan, tell him to go ahead. In all probability the 
Japanese would laugh at him now. Besides there exists what amounts to an undeclared peace 
anyway, with mail and a considerable trade going back and forth between occupied and 
unoccupied China. That is why tungsten shipments have not been as large as had been ex- 
pected. The Japs pay a little better price. . . . 

Until we re-take Burma, and re-open the port of Rangoon, all talk and planning to aid 
China are utterly meaningless. But all aid to China must have a string which demands action 
from them, or Rangoon or not, the present regime will do nothing but hoard the materiel in 
order to perpetuate itself after the war. It is short-sighted, but the regime itself is short- 
sighted or it would not need to worry about its own position in China after the war. In 
other words they expect an upheaval or revolution or some kind. In fact T. V. Soong in 
Washington expressed the opinion that the present regime would be out of a job six months 
after the war was over. He ought to know. . . . 101 

On 6 August Currie left Chungking to lay the Pacific Front plan (also 
called the Generalissimo's plan) before the President and the CCS. 102 

101 Ltr, Dorn to Handy, 4 Aug 42. OPD 381 CTO, Sec 3, A47-30. 

102 (1) Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 29 Jul 42, sub: Pacific Front Proposal. Stilwell 
Documents, Hoover Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 131-33. 



184 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Seeking to take advantage of the more aggressive Chinese attitude, Stilwell 
immediately submitted a suggestion that the Chinese raid Indochina to "deter- 
mine the intentions of the Japanese in that vital area," from which an attack 
might easily be launched on Kunming. He suggested that two divisions then 
in south Yunnan make the attack. ". . . If the enemy is contemplating an 
action in this area, such an attack would begin it under very favorable condi- 
tions for us. The Japanese would have lost the initiative, and the Chinese 
would be farther forward on ground favorable for defense in case the enemy 
is strong there. If he is weak, reserves could follow immediately to exploit any 
success that might be obtained." 103 No answer or comment was ever received 
from the Chinese. 

Giving tangible proof of interest in the project for retaking Burma, the 
Generalissimo ordered the National Military Council to discuss the assem- 
bling, training, and equipping of the Thirty Divisions (twenty of them were 
designated on 1 August) with Stilwell, eighteen months after Soong first 
requested U.S. arms for them. The Generalissimo had given a tentative list of 
the thirty in March, then withdrawn his support from the plan as the Burma 
campaign grew steadily worse for the Allies. The Generalissimo also ordered, 
in the same first week of August, that the highest Chinese staff echelon, the 
National Military Council, should inform Stilwell of the Chinese order of 
battle, the various fronts in China Theater, and what the Chinese strategic 
concepts were in each war area. Within a fortnight all these were revealed to 
Stilwell's staff. Passive defense was the order of the day in each war area from 
Sian to Indochina. Even the sixteen armies charged with preventing the Chi- 
nese Communists from taking Sian were awaiting the end of the Pacific war. 
No offensive against the Japanese was contemplated, not even guerrilla 
action. 104 

For their part, the Japanese made an unwitting contribution to Sino- 
American amity by ending the Chekiang expedition on 28 July, thus removing 
pressure on the Generalissimo to seek immediate, massive U.S. help. 105 
Examination of the Japanese supply plan for 1942, which Imperial General 
Headquarters issued 20 March 1942, suggests the Japanese were quite content 
to let the status quo prevail in China. For example, but 5,000 rounds of 
150-mm. high explosive would be shipped to China from the homeland. 
Approximately 60,000,000 rounds of type 38 rifle ammunition would be kept 
on hand in China; if less were needed, even that modest stock would be 
reduced. As replenishment, 20,000,000 rounds of rifle ammunition would be 
shipped to North China Area Army, and them alone. For the whole Japanese 
establishment in China, there would be shipped 10,900,000 rounds of practice 

103 (1) Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 1 Aug 42, sub: Proposed Raid Into Indochina. 
Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Stilwell B&W, 1 Aug 42. 

104 Notes of Mtg with NMC, Aldrich, recorder, 20 Aug 42. Item 225, Corresp Folder (May- 
Dec 42) , CT 23, Dr 2. KCRC. 

105 (1) Japanese Study 77. (2) See|p. 163] above. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



185 



ball ammunition, and 6,200,000 blank cartridges. Food would be procured in 
China. The picture painted by the Japanese supply arrangements is of an army 
of occupation, with training duties, living off the country, and launching occa- 
sional punitive expeditions. 106 

On 29 August Stilwell asked the War Department to provide weapons for 
the American portion of the Thirty Divisions, stressing artillery, automatic 
weapons, and ammunition. The War Department answer was favorable. 107 

Stilwell responded to the Generalissimo's more co-operative attitude by 
encouraging the Chinese in regard to the Hump: 

1. Information has just been received that the War Department will furnish up to the 75 
army transports and the total of 25 transports for CNAC as fast as airplanes are available. 

2. I have requested that 2 Vz full crews for each transport airplane be provided to secure 
the maximum hours flying from each transport and have been informed that beginning the 
first of October additional pilots will be provided at the rate of 30 each month. 

3. On my recommendation the War Department has directed General Brereton to return 
to India any transports not urgently needed in the Middle East. . . . 108 

While his superiors pondered their next moves, Stilwell spent a week in 
India. He visited Ramgarh and ordered officers to get supplies moving from 
Karachi to the Chinese troops that had withdrawn from Burma. He also talked 
with Wavell and informed him that the Generalissimo was contemplating a 
major operation for retaking Burma. 109 

Stilwell's suggestion that the United States reach a clear understanding 
with the Chinese on what they would do with the lend-lease they received was 
not accepted by Currie. Adhering to the views he had expressed in the fall of 
1941, Currie thought it unwise to put any pressure on the Chinese since the 
United States was not planning to meet the Three Demands in full. The 
President approved and adopted this line in framing his final reply to the 
Three Demands note. 110 

106 The Japanese stocks in China were kept at a level estimated as enough for one battle; the 
resupply factor for rifle ammunition was 0.3. See Imperial General Headquarters Army Directive 
1122, 20 Mar 42, GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil Hist Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army 
Directives, Vol. II. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

107 (1) CM-IN 11061, Stilwell to Gruber, 29 Aug 42. (2) CM-IN 11380, Stilwell to Marshall, 
29 Aug 42. (3) CM-OUT 5287, Marshall to Stilwell, 17 Aug 42. (4) CM-OUT 205 5, Marshall 
to Stilwell, 6 Sep 42. (5) CM-OUT 1047, Marshall to Stilwell, 3 Oct 42. 

108 Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 6 Aug 42, sub: Opn of Transport Airplanes. SNF-21. 

109 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 139- (2) Stilwell B&W, 10 Nov 42. 

110 (1) Memo, Stilwell for Currie, 1 Aug 42, sub: Gen View of Chinese Situation. Stilwell 
Documents, Hoover Library. (2) CM-IN 0433, CM-IN 0789. Stilwell to AG WAR, 2 Aug 42. 
(3) Currie's view on Chinese co-operation is in Chapter I, page 41, above. (4) As early as 4 
September 1942, at the President's request relayed through Marshall, OPD drafted a message 
for the President to send to the Generalissimo, informing him of the U.S. answer to the Three 
Demands and asking in return for the development of the Thirty Division Program and the 
reorganization of his army with Stilwell as adviser. Currie objected to the draft reply. It was 
modified before being sent to Stilwell for comment. Memo, Handy for Marshall, 4 Sep 42, sub: 
Support of China, with Incl, Memo, Marshall for President, 11 Sep 42, sub: Support of China. 
OPD 381 CTO, Sec 2, A47-30. (5) Memo, Currie for Marshall, 12 Sep 42, sub: Cable from 
You to Generalissimo. WDCSA 381, File I, A46-523. (6) Ltr, Currie to Marshall, 14 Sep 42. 
Item 22, OPD Exec 10. 



186 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



On his return to Washington Currie supported Stilwell's projects but sug- 
gested that Stilwell be sent to another theater. 111 Marshall could see that the 
Generalissimo had convinced Currie of Stilwell's unpopularity with the 
regime, but even a presidential query about moving Stilwell to another theater 
did not persuade Stimson and Marshall to do so. 112 Upon his return Currie 
asked Marshall to consider Stilwell's transfer. Marshall desired to know if 
Currie was acting on the President's behalf. When the negative reply came, 
Marshall dismissed the topic from their conference. 113 Not pressing the issue, 
Roosevelt for the moment gave Stilwell his support, but not to the extent of 
requiring reform of the Chinese Army in exchange for lend-lease aid. 114 This 
policy was in accord with the recommendation Currie made to the President 
in his report on his trip to Chungking: "I do not think we need to lay down 
any conditions or tie any strings to our support." 

Before supporting Stilwell so firmly, Marshall had consulted him. The 
Chief of Staff told Stilwell that he was fully aware of Soong's attitude and 
activities and of the effect of Soong's actions on Sino- American relations and 
on Stilwell's position. He added that Stimson and he were disturbed over 
Stilwell's delicate situation and knew they had been able to give Stilwell but 
little support. The issue was becoming more acute because the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff were considering the reoccupation of Burma after the monsoon 
rains. Marshall asked what the prospects for a combined Sino-British effort in 
Burma were and whether the Generalissimo's attitude toward Stilwell would 
permit the latter's taking a leading role in such a venture. 115 

In reply Stilwell summarized the progress he had made in plans to retake 
Burma but cautioned that the Chinese showed a clear disposition to coast and 
to let others finish the war. He repeated the AMMISCA warning — that the 
Chinese wanted to finish the war with their arsenals stocked and their armies 
well equipped, by implication, to handle domestic disturbances. He was not 
concerned about his relations with the Generalissimo and did not understand 
Currie's references to "strongly antagonistic feelings." Stilwell believed that 
the Generalissimo knew what had happened in Burma as well as he did, that 
any feeling on the Generalissimo's part about Stilwell's status in China could 

in (l) On 24 August Currie recommended to the President that Soong, Gauss, and Stilwell 
be replaced. He argued that Stilwell and the Generalissimo had had a basic misunderstanding 
over the chief of staff role since January 1942. Rpt cited n. 93(4). (2) Memo and Ltr cited n. 
I 1 10(5) .1 (6^. 

112 (1) Interv with Marshall, 6 Jul 49. (2) Memo, Roosevelt for Marshall, 3 Oct 42. Marshall 
discussed Stilwell's transfer with Stimson. They agreed that no one could be found to replace 
Stilwell. Ltr, Marshall to Roosevelt, 6 Oct 42, sub: Situation Relative to Stilwell. OPD 381 CTO, 
Sec 2, A47-30. 

113 Interv cited n il?flV 

114 (1) Rpt cite d] n. 93(4). 1 (2) Memo, Marshall for Roosevelt, 2 Oct 42, sub: Support of 
China. The President approvea this memorandum on 10 October 1942 and it went to Stilwell 
as WAR 1469, Marshall for Stilwell, 12 Oct 42. OPD 381 CTO, Sec 2, A47-30. (3) Item 54, 
OPD Exec 10. (4) Memo, Roosevelt for Chiang, 12 Oct 42. Item 71, Bk 1, JWS Personal 
File. 

115 Rad, Marshall to Stilwell, 1 Sep 42. WDCSA 381, File I, A46-523. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 



187 



be traced to Soong. Stilwell's last meetings with the Generalissimo had been 
pleasant and he hoped something could be done. Stilwell closed his reply by 
offering an acid test of Chinese intentions— progress on the Thirty Division 
scheme. If the Chinese had any thought of taking an active part in the war, 
they would certainly want to rebuild their armies. If they wanted to be only 
formally belligerent, then the Thirty Division scheme would continue to creep 
forward. 116 

Planning the Air War in China Theater 

Immediately after Currie's departure, Stilwell pressed his air officer to study 
the immediate use of American air power in China. One may surmise that, by 
preparing a suitable plan, Stilwell desired to commit the Generalissimo as 
Supreme Commander, China Theater, to making defense of the Hump air 
terminal the primary mission of China-based air power, thus precluding devel- 
opment of a China Theater in which U.S. air power did the work and the 
Chinese reaped the benefits. Stilwell also desired a program in which require- 
ments in Hump tonnage would balance 3,500 tons of air cargo a month for 
the Thirty Division build-up with tonnage to support the China Air Task 
Force. 117 

In compliance with Stilwell's wishes his staff submitted their study, the 
China Air War Plan, on 8 September. The paper divided the major tasks 
between the China Air Task Force and the Chinese Air Force. The former was 
charged with protecting the air ferry line; the latter, Chungking and the 
Yangtze valley. Of the two missions given above, the China Air Task Force's 
mission defending the air transport route was rated as the first objective of the 
China Air War Plan. 

The study proposed to accomplish the defense of the airline and of Chung- 
king by offensive operations against hostile air concentrations. These offensive 
operations would be mounted from a perimeter line of bases from Heng-yang 
to Meng-tzu. After defense of the airline and China's capital came missions 
against "targets of opportunity and war industries within the radius of action 
of our air force." Among these, shipping had highest priority. As for ground 
operations, these were covered with the provision, "The Chinese Air Force 
and the American Air Force will afford support to ground operations of the 
Chinese Army when sufficient strength is available after accomplishment of 
the primary mission of these air forces (defense of the air ferry route)." 118 

This plan was formulated after submission of General Chennault's views 
which had been placed before Stilwell in July. Activated on 6 July, the China 

116 Rad, Stilwell to Marshall, 4 Sep 42. Item 35, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

117 (1) The inference is based on Stilwell's August-September radios, warning Marshall that 
the Chinese wanted U.S. air power to assume the major burdens in China Theater. (2) Memo, 
Col Edward H. Alexander for Stilwell, 8 Sep 42, sub: China Air War Plan. Item 15, Bissell 
Corresp Folder (Jul-Sep 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

118 Memo cited n. 117(2). 



188 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Air Task Force had continued the AVG's successes. 119 Contemplating the 
potentialities of China-based air power, Chennault told Stilwell that if he were 
given 100 of the then new P-51 fighters and 30 B-25 medium bombers he 
would accept "responsibility" for: 

(a) Destruction of Japanese aircraft in much greater number than CATF's entire strength. 

(b) Destruction of enemy military and naval establishments in China to encourage Chi- 
nese resistance. 

(c) Disruption of Japanese shipping in the interior of China and off the coasts of China. 

(d) Interdiction of Japanese air concentrations being ferried from Chinese bases across 
Indochina and Thailand into Burma. 

(e) Destruction of Japanese air force morale by destroying its rear depots and production 
facilities. 120 

The whole bent of Chennault's plan was aggressive. Stilwell modified it to the 
extent that he desired Chennault to make defense of the Hump his primary 
mission. 

Stilwell sent to the Generalissimo on 13 September a second plan for opera- 
tions of the China Air Task Force alone: 

2. The primary mission of the United States China Air Task Force is to defend the ferry 
route from India to China. The secondary mission is to conduct operations to destroy hostile 
aircraft, shipping, and installations in other areas when such operations do not jeopardize 
the primary mission and when munitions are available for such operations. 

3. The plan to accomplish the mission of the United States China Air Task Force con- 
templates offensive operations for the destruction of aircraft and installations on hostile 
airdromes within striking distance of the air freight route; the destruction of hostile aircraft 
operating against air transports or the terminal facilities of the air route, and the attack on 
communications necessary for the support of such hostile air operations. In addition occa- 
sional air attacks on favorable targets of opportunity are envisioned. 

4. Your approval of the above for future planning and execution is requested. 121 

For whatever reason, the plan of the China Air Task Force's commander for 
his unit's operations was submitted three days later, but it was consistent with 
the above. As did his July paper, Chennault's September proposals stressed 
aggressive action against Japanese shipping, but he accepted Stilwell's views 
by suggesting Hump defense as his primary mission. Chennault also proposed 
the most vigorous action against Japanese air power, which was also in line 
with Stilwell's thinking. Significantly, Chennault asked that his command 
become independent of Bissell's Tenth Air Force and operate directly under 
Stilwell. For his operations, Chennault requested 1,986 tons a month. There 
was a serious flaw in his logistical planning. His study placed on the Tenth's 
Air Service Command the responsibility of supplying and supporting the 

1,9 At midnight on 4 July 1942 the AVG had become a legend. On 6 July the China Air Task 
Force was activated. On 8 July Chennault assumed command of the CATF. History of the CATF, 
1942-43. File 830.01, USAF Hist Div. 

120 Memo, Chennault for Stilwell, 16 Jul 42. Item 23, Corresp Folder Qui 42-Jan 43), CT 23, 
Dr 2, KCRC. 

121 Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 13 Sep 42, sub: Employment of U.S. CATF. SNF-53. 



STILWELL'S MISSION INTERRUPTED 189 




BRIG. GEN. CLAIRE L. CHENNAULT 



China Air Task Force at its forward fields. To discharge this responsibility, the 
Air Service Command in China would require a certain amount of Hump ton- 
nage to support either trucks or transport aircraft. Yet Chennault was asking 
every ton of Hump tonnage for tactical operations of the China Air Task Force. 
This posed a dilemma for StilwelPs headquarters. Stilwell approved 
Chennault's September proposals, save the paragraph on command, yet until 
ways were found to bring more tonnage over the Hump and then move it 
forward to Chennault's fields, such approval was academic. 122 

As his memorandum of 7 July 1942 123 to the Generalissimo made clear, 
Stilwell was far from underestimating the potentialities of China-based air 
power. His diaries for September and October faithfully record the box score 
of every air engagement with the Japanese and reveal that he prodded Bissell 
and Chennault to seize opportunities for aggressive air action against major 

122 Memo, Chennault for Bissell, 16 Sep 42, sub: Plan for Employment of CATF and Atchd 
Servs; 1st Ind, Bissell for Stilwell, 17 Sep 42 (approved); 2d Ind, Stilwell for Bissell, 21 Sep 42 
(approved); Memo, Chennault for Bissell, 22 Sep 42, sub: Plan for Tactical Employment of 
CATF; 4th Ind, Stilwell for Chennault, 3 Oct 42 (approved). Item 304, U.S. Opns in China 
Folder (S ep 42-Jul 43) , CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

123 See |pp. 1 75-77, | above. 



190 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Japanese targets. There is no suggestion in the diaries that he sought to 
hamper Chennault or felt hostility toward him or his views. Stilwell told 
Marshall he felt it necessary to avoid provoking a Japanese reaction until 
gasoline stocks for Chennault's air force had been built up. 124 

In late September, speaking on the larger aspects of China Theater, he 
warned Marshall that the Chinese wanted the China Air Task Force strength- 
ened to a point where it could fight the Japanese by itself, leaving the Chinese 
free to rest on their oars until their Allies defeated the Japanese. He reported 
that the Chinese ignored the ground aspects of war in China. The Thirty Divi- 
sion plan, Stilwell remarked, was the real reason for the existence of the airline 
to China. He told Marshall that even though it was now impossible to fly in 
all the American weapons originally contemplated, great progress toward a 
better Chinese Army still could be made by reorganization, filling the Thirty 
Divisions to full strength, equipping them with the weapons available in 
China, and concentrating them in strategic positions. He reported that the 
Chinese were doing nothing to accomplish the Thirty Division plan, and that 
American pressure was needed. The Chinese were meeting all of Stilwell's 
arguments, he told Marshall, with demands for more transports on the 
Hump. 125 

Summary 

June and July saw a false start toward carrying out Stilwell's mission to 
support China and reform its Army. Immediately after Stilwell had presented 
his proposals to the Generalissimo his mission was gravely compromised by 
the order to move Brereton's B-17's to the Middle East. Following a number 
of disappointments in regard to lend-lease, aviation projects, and diplomatic 
status, the step angered the Chinese. Since it was diplomatically inadvisable 
for the Chinese to blame Stilwell's superiors, their disappointments were there- 
after charged to Stilwell, as though he were a free agent. 

After the U.S. Government reacted coolly to Chinese hints of a separate 
peace, the expressions of the Chinese moderated, and in succeeding weeks it 
was possible for Stilwell and the presidential emissary, Mr. Currie, to prepare 
the way for Chinese acceptance of something less than full compliance with 
the Three Demands. 

124 (1) Stilwell Diary, 10-12 Oct 42. (2) CM-IN 10959, Stilwell to Marshall, 24 Sep 42. 
125 CM-IN 12306, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Sep 42. 



CHAPTER VI 



U.S. Forces Organize and 
Prepare for New Tasks 

If Stilwell succeeded in persuading the Chinese to co-operate in retaking 
Burma, and if the forthcoming reply to the now-modified Three Demands 
strengthened their resolve to proceed along the lines of the Pacific Front and 
the China Air War Plan, then StilwelPs chief concern would be American 
support of the Chinese effort. "Support China" would be an injunction to be 
interpreted in the most literal terms and to be carried out by a U.S. Army 
organization modeled to that end. 

Although the loss of Burma left Stilwell's Task Force in China, plus the 
Tenth Air Force and the infant Services of Supply, without a specific immediate 
mission, the Pacific Front and the China Air War Plan obviously involved 
future tasks of considerable magnitude for the U.S. Army. Therefore, while 
waiting for the final settlement of the Three Demands crisis, Stilwell expanded 
his modest organization into a larger one which, with the tacit approval of the 
War Department, became known as the China, Burma and India Theater of 
Operations. It will be recalled that Stilwell had left the United States as a task 
force commander, indeed, that his willingness to accept that status was one 
of the reasons he had been given his mission to China. Now, that was to 
change, and Stilwell, his superiors, and his subordinates soon referred to his 
position as that of U.S. theater commander in China, Burma, and India. 

Apart from setting up his widespread CBI command, Stilwell worked at 
his three other command and staff assignments. As chief of staff to the 
Generalissimo, he created an office at Chungking and secured clerical help for 
preparing his proposals for reform of the Chinese Army and operations in 
China Theater. This post he kept most meticulously separate from his U.S. 
Army command, and members of his American staff were not aware of his 
plans and projects for China Theater. Stilwell sometimes called on individual 
American officers to prepare staff studies on China Theater problems; at other 
times, staff sections sent memorandums to their Chinese counterparts, but only 
with Stilwell's approval. Occasionally Stilwell detailed American officers to 
confer with Chinese on matters of mutual concern. Until the Chinese would 
agree to set up a joint staff for China Theater as promised by them in January 



192 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



1942, Stilwell proposed to discharge his staff responsibilities in China Theater 
by himself with the aid of a liaison officer, Col. John Liu of the Chinese Army, 
who also served as a translator, and a few enlisted clerks. 

In the conduct of two other responsibilities, Stilwell made free use of Amer- 
ican personnel. As the Munitions Assignments Board's agent, he supervised 
and controlled lend-lease in China, although he never bore a formal title, such 
as Lend- Lease Administrator for China. As commanding general of the Chinese 
Army in India, Stilwell staffed a headquarters with Chinese and American 
officers who would, he hoped, work harmoniously in creating a new army. 

Expansion of Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, CBI, July-December 1942 

The command of Chinese troops given by the Generalissimo, the desire 
to anticipate the arrival of a U.S. corps for which StilwelPs staff was hoping, 
and finally a War Department directive led directly to the metamorphosis of 
Stilwell's task force into a theater of operations. When Stilwell reached New 
Delhi at the end of May 1942, he arranged for General Sibert and a small staff 
including Colonel Ferris to work with the British in finding a concentration 
area for the Chinese straggling out of Burma. The Services of Supply (SOS) 
was spreading across India. The Tenth Air Force was organizing itself for 
expansion. Sibert, Ferris, and their staff began to look ahead toward the recep- 
tion of a U.S. corps in India. As the number of Americans in CBI and the 
extent of their responsibilities grew, the mental horizon of those who com- 
manded them broadened, and so the Stilwell group in New Delhi more and 
more thought of themselves as acting in the capacity of a theater headquarters. 
Though the hope of receiving a corps from the War Department lasted for 
some months, it soon became apparent to the embryonic theater headquarters 
staff in New Delhi that the Chinese 22d and 38th Divisions if trained, 
re-equipped, and brought to strength might substitute for an American corps. 1 

June passed before the Generalissimo charged Stilwell with the task of feed- 
ing and caring for his troops in India. The British were finally persuaded to 
offer Ramgarh, Bihar Province, as the Chinese training center, and on 2 July 
the Generalissimo gave Stilwell command of the Chinese Army in India. This 
step passed almost unnoticed, however, so overshadowed was it by the Middle 
East and Three Demands crises. 

On 22 June 1942 the War Department ordered Stilwell to issue orders 
relieving all units and individuals under his command from assignment to 
Army Group, Washington, D. C, and to assign them under a permanent 
change of station to the American Army Forces in "India, China, and Burma." 2 

'(1) CM-IN 7262, Stilwell to Marshall, 25 May 42. (2) Memo, Hearn for Maj Gen J. C. 
Bruce, British Mil Mission to China, 19 Tun 42. Item 151, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), 
CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (3) Interv with Col Ferris, 1 Dec 48. 

2 (1) CM-IN 0570, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Jul 42. (2) CM-OUT 5537, AG WAR to Stilwell, 22 
Jun 42. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



193 



The War Department's radio went to StilwelPs staff in Chungking which 
promptly relayed it to General Sibert in New Delhi. The latter headquarters at 
once relieved the personnel of the several troop movements which had arrived 
in China and India from their assignment to Army Group, Washington, D. C, 
and reassigned them to "this theater of operations." There were no more radios 
on this point between Washington and Chungking, but thereafter communica- 
tions from Stil well's headquarters to the War Department, and from the War 
Department to Stilwell, referred to him as theater commander, to his head- 
quarters as theater headquarters, and to his command as the China, Burma and 
India Theater of Operations. 3 In the absence of further, conflicting evidence, it 
must be assumed that both the War Department and General Stilwell regarded 
the Department's 22 June radio as sufficient authority for the establishment of 
an American theater of operations in China, Burma, and India. 

The next step in the evolution of the CBI Theater was a letter of instruc- 
tions from Stilwell on 6 July 1942 setting up the command structure for his 
theater. Stilwell made his headquarters at Chungking the office of record of his 
command, under the name "Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, 
Burma and India." The New Delhi headquarters was titled "Branch Office, 
Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, Burma and India." New Delhi 
was specifically authorized to issue directives in line with established policies 
in the name of the "Theater Commander." 4 Henceforth, the U.S. Army corre- 
spondence and orders within CBI Theater clearly differentiated between the 
functions and personnel which were assigned to Headquarters, CBI, to the SOS, 
and to the Tenth Air Force. 

A few days later Stilwell established a branch office in Kunming to make 
the city's shift from a Burma Road terminal to an air ferry discharge point and 
a major base for Chennault as smooth as possible. Colonel MacMorland, who 
had suggested the step, commanded the new U.S. Kunming Area Command. 
MacMorland was to relieve Chennault of housing, mess, supply, and com- 
munications responsibilities and to give the Chinese a central American agency 
with which to deal on supply matters for that area. 5 Thus with two branch 
offices under way at mid-July Stilwell awaited the outcome of his Pacific Front 
proposals before undertaking any more expansion in his theater. 

It was not until Currie was off for Washington with the Generalissimo's 
set of modified demands and the Pacific Front plan that Stilwell left to inspect 
his new theater organization. During August he traveled from Kunming to 

3 (1) SO 25, India Hq, Stilwell Mission, 16 Jul 42. This special order indicates that it was issued 
pursuant to a 25 June 1942 radio from Stilwell in Chungking. (2) CM-IN and CM-OUT messages 
in the Staff Communications Office, Department of the Army, for the period after 16 July 1942 
refer to Stilwell, his headquarters, and his command as being a "Theater of Operations." 

4 Ltr of Instructions, Stilwell to Sibert, Wheeler, and Naiden, 6 Jul 42. Corresp Folder (May- 
Nov 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. The abbreviation AAF conflicted with Army Air Forces, so it 
became the accepted practice to use U.S. Army Forces, China, Burma and India. 

5 (1) Memo, MacMorland for Stilwell, 9 Jul 42, sub: Liquidation of Kunming Office. AG 500, 
Hq USAF CBI, KCRC. (2) GO 5, Hq USAF CBI, 18 Jul 42. 



194 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Karachi, stopping at Chabua, New Delhi, and Calcutta, and spending a week 
at Ramgarh. 6 Command and organizational problems received personal atten- 
tion at each place. On 18 August the War Department approved Stilwell's 
candidate for command of the Tenth Air Force, General Bissell. On 26 August 
the Ramgarh Training Ce nter for C hinese troops was activated with Colonel 
McCabe as commandant. 7 [Chart 2| shows the command and staff structure of 
Stilwell's theater at the end ot 1942. 

During his tour Stilwell acquainted his officers with the progress of negotia- 
tions in Chungking and New Delhi and asked them to relate their activities to 
that progress. They were told to report difficulties encountered and anticipate 
the need of staff studies. 8 As Stilwell traveled about CBI, wherever he worked 
was a third theater headquarters, in fact if not in name, New Delhi and Chung- 
king being the other two. Inevitably, a certain amount of confusion resulted in 
Chungking or New Delhi until Stilwell's decisions reached them by courier 
or radio and were relayed throughout the command. On occasion it became 
exceedingly difficult for Stilwell's chief of staff, General Hearn, to determine 
which headquarters spoke for the commanding general at any one time. 9 

Hearn's difficulties increased as Stilwell conducted talks first with the Chi- 
nese and then with the British and reversed the process for agreements on the 
Pacific Front and the China Air War Plan. Frequent trips between Chungking 
and New Delhi gave Stilwell an opportunity to see Bissell, Wheeler, Sibert, 
Ferris, Chennault, and MacMorland in person. In consequence, Hearn's staff 
had a difficult job in keeping abreast of orders and policy announcements. 
Stilwell's many conferences with commanders resulted in a multiplication of 
staff studies, and the amount of staff work gradually forced the Chungking 
and New Delhi headquarters to assume staff responsibility for the U.S. Army 
units within the country of their location. 10 

Branch Office, New Delhi, soon outstripped its parent headquarters at 
Chungking both in personnel and activity. In terms of strength, it was the 
larger of the two by November 1942. New Delhi had better facilities, reflecting 
the greater resources of India and the fact that the major U.S. effort would be 
exerted from there. Present in Branch Office until the end of 1942 were the 
theater finance, inspector general, judge advocate general, surgeon, and quarter- 
master officers. To these Special Staff Sections, the theater ordnance officer was 
added in November 1942. On 6 October Branch Office lost Sibert as a com- 
manding general, and Stilwell put a deputy chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Benjamin 

6 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 135-41. (2) CM-IN 0789, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Aug 42. 
7 (1) Rad 1133, Marshall to Stilwell, 4 Aug 42. Item 27, Bk I, JWS Personal File. (2) GO 1, 
Hq Ramgarh Training Center, 26 Aug 42. (3) MS, History Ramgarh Training Center, 30 Jun 42- 
15 May 45. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

8 (1) CM-IN 10959, Stilwell to Marshall, 23 Sep 42. (2) Memo with Incl, Sibert for Stilwell, 
19 Oct 42, sub: Bimonthly Stf Rpts. Corresp Folder (Mar-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

9 Ltr, Boatner to authors, 4 Apr 50; Ltr, Hearn to authors, 16 Feb 50; Ltr, Ferris to Sunder- 
land, 21 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CRT 1Q50 




Chart 2— Organization of U.S. Army Forces in China-Burma-India: 

December 1942 



BRANCH OFFICE 
NEW DELHI* 
<Moj G«n F. C. S,b*rt. CG) 



U S ARMY FORCES 

Cn.na-Burmo-lndio 

(L. G«rn J. W. Siilw.ll) 



RAMGARH TRAINING 
CENTER 
(Bris Gen Frtdtiick McCabc) 



RAMGARH 



CHUNGKING HO 

{B.i 9 Gen T. G. H.Orn, ColS) 



U S KUNMING AREA 

COMMAND 
(Col E. E. MocMorland) 



SERVICES OF SUPPLY 
KARACHI— NEW DELHI b 
{Mai Gen R. A Wkttltt) 



INFANTRY 
SEGION 



ARTILLERY 
SECTION 



LANGUAGE 
SECTION 



SPECIAL 
UNITS 




ADVANCE 
SECTION 

NO. 1 
AGRA 



GAYA- 
CHAKULIA 
ENGINEER 
AREA 



EASTERN 
SECTION 



TENTH AIR FORCE 

NEW DELHI 
(B.i 3 Gen C. L. Bm.ll) 



INDIA AIR 
TASK FORCE 



INDIA- 
CHINA 
FERRY 
COMMAND- 



CHINA AIR 
TASK FORCE 



KARACHI 
AMERICAN 
AIR BASE 



BASE 
SECTION 
NO. ! 
CALCUTTA 



GENERAL 




AFR4DD' 


DEPOT 




NO. 1 


NO. 1 







BASE 
SECTION 
NO. 3 
LEDO 



ADVANCE 
SECTION 
NO. ! 
CHABUA 



ADVANCE 
SECTION 

NO 3 
KUNMING 



GENERAL 
DEPOT 
NO ? 



ADVANCE 
DEPOT 
NO. 1 



AFR&DD 

NO. 2 



afradd 

NO. 3 



AFR&DD 
NO. 4 
YANGKAI 



• Designated Rear Echelon, HQ USAF CBI, on 24 
November 1942. 

fc Karachi (25 Apr-27 May 42), New Delhi (27 May 
42-15 Apr 46). 



« Replaced by INDIA-CHINA WING. ATC, 1 De- 
cember 1942. 

* AIR FREIGHT RECEPTION AND DISCHARGE 
DEPOT. 



AIR 
SERVICE 
COMMAND 



AFR&DD 
NO. 5 
YUNNANY1 



196 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



G. Ferris, in charge of the office. Ferris also became Stilwell's principal liaison 
officer with General Headquarters (India). On 24 November Branch Office 
got a more appropriate title for the scope and size of its activities: Head- 
quarters, Rear Echelon, United States Army Forces, CBI. 11 

The new organization merited its title because of the extent of its contacts 
with the Chungking headquarters, with General Headquarters (India), and 
with the War Department. Ferris kept the Chungking headquarters in touch 
with the expansion of his special staff through bimonthly reports. The absence 
of an approved Allied operational plan, while a serious drawback to normal 
functioning, gave each officer an opportunity to do a great deal of anticipatory 
planning for Stilwell. If Stilwell or his headquarters staff was dissatisfied with 
the performance of any function by SOS, the tendency was to place that 
responsibility under theater headquarters. Thus by the end of 1942 signal, post 
exchange, malaria and venereal disease control, military police, mail, and 
censorship were theater functions, which meant that Headquarters, U.S. Army 
Forces, CBI, exercised SOS functions to a considerable degree. 12 

Apart from theater staff work, such officers as the theater quartermaster, 
judge advocate general, postal inspector, and surgeon had many contacts with 
General Headquarters (India). As a result of co-ordinating their staff work, 
several international agreements were reached. 13 For example, the judge advo- 
cate general aided in getting the United States and Indian Governments to 
agree that "the American military authorities in India had exclusive jurisdic- 
tion over criminal offenses which might be committed in India by members 
of U.S. forces." 14 Rear Echelon's necessary contacts with the War Department 
on "technical or administrative matters" forced Ferris to organize his own 
office of record. 15 The radio teams of the 835 th Signal Service Company tied 
together these several American installations. 

The G-l Section in Chungking attempted to direct personnel matters for 
the theater until June 1943. Throughout this period the G-l officer was handi- 
capped by the lack of personnel statistics available to his assistant in New 
Delhi. 16 The G-2 Section in Chungking was rudimentary, with two officers 
and one enlisted man, one officer being the Order of Battle Section. As plans 
for the Burma operation progressed, G-2 in Chungking was compelled to rely 
heavily on General Headquarters (India), which was very helpful. 17 It was 
not possible for Stilwell to set up his own intelligence net in China Theater, 
for there the Generalissimo was Supreme Commander, and a chief of staff 

11 Memo citedln^jSnMjMemo with Incl, Ferris for Stilwell, 18 Dec 42. Corresp Folder (Mar- 
Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, K.CRC. 

12 Ibid. 

13 Ibid. 

14 Memo, Stilwell for his Comd, 19 Nov 42. Corresp Folder (Mar-Dec 42), CT 2 3, Dr 2, 
KCRC. 

15 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. XIII, Administration. 

16 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. XIII, G-l Section. 

17 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. XIII, G-2 Section. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



197 



does not set up an intelligence system in rivalry with his commander. The 
same situation obtained in India, where Wavell was Supreme Commander. 

The G-3 Section in New Delhi continued to work on plans for the 
recapture of Burma, which Ferris had started immediately after the evacuation 
of Burma. G-3 was also concerned with procuring, moving, and training 
troops. It was initially handicapped by the absence of any directive for troop 
deployment to CBI. There were no American combat troops in CBI, so it was 
not possible for G-3 to say: "We have fifteen divisions allotted to us, there- 
fore we need so many service troops, making our grand total 750,000 men." 18 
Rather, troops were needed and allotted as successive projects were added to 
support China or Pacific operations. Until May 1943 StilwelPs headquarters, 
SOS, and the Tenth Air Force each submitted requisitions for troops directly 
to the War Department. In connection with forward planning of supply and 
construction requirements, the G-3 Section in New Delhi was called on to 
prepare estimates of troop strengths, so that the Government of India and 
General Headquarters (India) could have a basis for estimating American 
requests for supplies and labor. Under the circumstances suggested above, in 
1942-1943 these estimates were little better than educated guesses, always 
likely to be overturned by the next great international conference. 19 

The G-4 Section in Chungking was small and often inadequate to cope 
with its tasks. The Delhi section worked under better conditions, disposing 
of more ample resources, and it was able to plan and carry out the re-equipping 
of the Chinese forces that retreated on India. The Chungking G-4 Section 
was the liaison with the Chinese Government for supplies for the Thirty Divi- 
sions and for the AAF installations in Yunnan and the east. Though the 
Chinese intent often seemed good, American staff officers found their adminis- 
trative practices hard to bear and administrative problems were many. 20 

Transportation and related problems, such as procurement of gasoline and 
alcohol for motor fuel, road building, and maintenance, were the subjects of 
many conferences and many American promptings. Insufficient Chinese 
appropriations, the Chinese policy of meeting budgetary deficits by printing 
money, and price control regulations that made the cost of the raw materials 
greater than the price of the finished product kept Chinese industrial produc- 
tion at a fraction of capacity. Generally, at any given point in China, Chinese 
contributions to the war effort were limited to what the local countryside could 
spare. 21 

During the fall of 1942, lend-lease requisitions came to the War Depart- 
ment from Chinese agencies and from the Chungking and New Delhi head- 

18 (1) Ltr, Ferris to Sunderland, cited l n. 9-1 (2) History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. XIII, 
Administration. 

19 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. XIII, G-3 Section. 

20 History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. XIII, G-4 Section. 

21 Ibid. 



198 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



quarters for the units to be equipped in India and China. There was no theater 
effort to co-ordinate or screen these requests on behalf of Stilwell as lend-lease 
representative. 22 

By the end of September 1942 Stilwell received preliminary indications of 
what the War Department's reply to the modified Three Demands would be. 
While there was no immediate hope for U.S. ground troops, a 500-plane air 
force was promised, and the 3,500 tons a month lend-lease program for the 
Chinese Army would continue. These resources, plus those that could be 
procured locally, were all that would be at Stilwell's disposal. Nevertheless, he 
had deployed his U.S. forces from Karachi to Kunming to assist the Chinese 
in getting ready for the first phase of the proposed offensive. Of necessity, the 
creation of two headquarters, of an enlarged Services of Supply with three base 
sections and three advance sections, and of the Tenth Air Force, had been 
ordered in advance of approved War Department Tables of Organization and 
Equipment. To man his theater, Stilwell endeavored to keep his staff small 
since all personnel so far had come from the casual movements sent to the 
CBI in the spring of 1942. At the beginning of October only one major head- 
quarters, Tenth Air Force, had a Table of Distribution, and even its subordinate 
commands were created and operated without such tables. 23 On 5 October, 
as a result of a conference among the New Delhi headquarters, Tenth Air 
Force, and the Services of Supply, tentative Tables of Distribution for a theater 
headquarters, a rear echelon, and both major operating commands were 
forwarded to Stilwell. He studied them carefully in the light of future necessity 
as suggested by the progress of his negotiations with Chinese and British 
authority, but it was not until 21 January 1943 that the War Department was 
willing for the tables to take effect in the CBI Theater. 24 

Tenth Air Force Plans and Organization 

The only U.S. combat unit at Stilwell's disposal was the Tenth Air Force 
with its subordinate China Air Task Force. Brereton's absence in Egypt left the 
Tenth with only an acting commanding general until 18 August. The War 
Department had hesitated to approve Stilwell's candidate, General Bissell, 
because of Chinese opposition. BisselPs appointment, however, had merit as 
far as Arnold and Stilwell were concerned. He had been Stilwell's staff air 
officer since February; he had weathered the Generalissimo's disappointment 

" Ibid. 

2} (1) Notes, Conf, Br Office with CGs, SOS and Tenth Air Force, 3 Oct 42. Corresp Folder 
(Mar-Nov 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) CM-OUT 8582, Marshall to Stilwell, 25 Sep 42. 

24 (1) Memo, Sibert for Stilwell, 5 Oct 42, sub: Sp T/O Theater Hq. Item 289, Corresp Folder 
(1941-42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. "A presumption [j;V] was made in this study that a Head- 
quarters would be maintained in both Chungking and New Delhi; also that the theater com- 
mander would become the field commander. This would necessitate an adequate mobile Head- 
quarters which would in turn include a very mobile small command group." (2) GO 4, Forward 
Echelon, Hq USAF CBI, 21 Jan 43. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



199 



on each of China's aviation projects, and he had laid the basis for deploying 
part of the Tenth Air Force to China Theater. Bissell was well aware of the 
logistical problems of putting and maintaining air power in the CBI Theater. 
He was also coping daily with the political problems involved. 25 

Almost immediately after Brereton's departure the British Joint Staff 
Mission in Washington (British liaison with the Joint Chiefs of Staff) proposed 
that the Tenth be placed at the disposal of and under the control of the Air 
Officer Commanding-in-Chief (India). In the light of the Three Demands crisis 
such action would have had a bad effect on the Chinese. The Joint Chiefs of 
Staff, therefore, assured the British that, if a threat to India developed, Stilwell 
would co-operate with Wavell in meeting it. In accordance with this policy, 
co-ordination between the Tenth and the Royal Air Force was maintained by 
liaison and daily conferences. 26 

To strengthen Stilwell's hand in getting the Chinese to moderate their 
demands and to proceed along the lines of Stilwell's proposals to the General- 
issimo, the War Department during July outlined the aircraft strength that the 
Tenth would have by 30 September. It would be brought to 160 fighters, 57 
medium bombers, 35 heavy bombers, and 13 P-38's. 27 Assuming this combat 
strength, plus the long-standing promise to put 75 C-47's with the Tenth and 
25 transports in the China National Aviation Corporation, Stilwell's air planners 
envisaged a balanced air force for the CBI Theater. Aware of British concerns 
in India, but with his 18 July proposal to the Generalissimo more in mind, 
Stilwell told the War Department about his plan for using the Tenth Air 
Force. 28 

Basically, Stilwell's air plan envisaged support for the Chinese ground effort 
into Burma, operation and defense of the Hump in order to bring 3,500 tons a 
month to the Yunnan build-up, and aviation gasoline and spare parts for 
Chennault. This last objective was already being developed, and the Tenth's 
units were being deployed accordingly. On 6 July the China Air Task Force, 
consisting of the 23d Pursuit Group (74th, 75th, and 76th Squadrons), with 

25 (1) Rad 921, Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Jun 42; Rad 892, Stilwell to Marshall, 30Jun 42; Rad 
976, AGWAR to Stilwell, 8 Jul 42; Rad 942, Stilwell to Marshall, 14 Jul 42; Rad 1020, Arnold to 
Stilwell, 17 Jul 42; Rad 967, Stilwell to Arnold, 20 Jul 42; Rad 1133, Marshall to Stilwell, 4 Aug 
42. Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (2) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, pp. 508-13. (3) 
MS, History of the Tenth Air Force Headquarters for the Calendar Year, 1942, and from 1 January 
to 31 May 1943. USAF Hist Div. (4) SO 41, Br Office, Hq USAF CBI, 18 Aug 42. 

26 Ltr with Incl, Air Marshal Douglas C. S. Evill to Arnold, 3 Jul 42; Ltr, Arnold to Evill, 14 
Jul 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

27 (1) On 18 August the War Department again proposed to place the above planes in the 
Tenth Air Force. Moreover, Stilwell was promised 1,700 men a month to bring the Tenth to full 
strength by January 1943. Ltr, Streett to Stilwell, 18 Aug 42, sub: Status of Units of Tenth Air 
Force. Item 271, Misc Corresp Folder (Jul 42-Nov 43), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) On 12 October 
1942 the President assured the Generalissimo that the Tenth Air Force would contain the above 
strength. Item 54, OPD Exec 10. 

28 (1) CM-OUT 6392, Marshall to Stilwell, 22 Jul 42. (2) CM-IN 8729, Stilwell to Marshall, 
25 Jul 42. (3) The China Air War Plan, discussed in Chapter V, above, concerned the Tenth's role 
in China Theater where Stilwell was under the Generalissimo. Stilwell's plan in CM-IN 8729 was 
also concerned with India and Burma. 



200 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the 16th Fighter Squadron attached, plus the 11th Bombardment Squadron 
(B-25's), was activated. On 8 July Chennault assumed command. He had 56 
P-40's (only 30 were operational) and 8 B-25's (7 operational). The small size 
of Chennault's force was often mentioned in the U.S. press. 

To balance the China Air Task force, Stilwell planned to place similar 
fighter and medium bomber forces in upper Assam. (The India Air Task Force 
was activated formally on 3 October with Brig. Gen. Caleb V. Haynes com- 
manding.) With a task force at either end of the Hump the newly activated 
India-China Ferry Command (15 July 1942) could operate with greater security. 
The B-24's promised by Marshall were to be based in India, where they could 
bomb strategic targets in Burma or move into China Theater, if and when they 
could be supported there. At the air gateway to the CBI Theater, the Tenth set 
up a Karachi American Air Base Command under the command of General 
Brady. His mission was primarily to receive and train crews for combat and 
transport operations. Logistical support for the Tenth came from its own Air 
Service Command, which got a new Commanding Officer, Col. Robert C. 
Oliver^ on 14 August 1942. 29 

Oliver continued to build on the organization which he inherited from Brig. 
Gen. Elmer E. Adler, who had activated the Tenth's Air Service Command on 
1 May 1942 with headquarters at New Delhi. Service command personnel came 
from the 51st Air Base Group, which on 12 March became the first troop unit 
to reach the CBI. Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and the 54th Air 
Base Squadron of the 51st Group remained at Karachi. The 59th Materiel 
Squadron was divided into detachments and deployed at airfields across India 
and in China. On 16 May the 3d Air Depot Group disembarked at Karachi 
and soon moved to Agra. When Oliver assumed command, the Air Service 
Command had base units operating at Agra, Allahabad, Chakulia, Bangalore, 
Dinjan, and Chabua, in India, and at Kunming, China. 30 

The Air Service Command worked with and through Wheeler's SOS in the 
procurement of common usage items, and in transportation, except by air, re- 
quired for movement of all supplies. Quartermaster supplies for the Tenth Air 
Force came from Wheeler. In addition to supplying and transporting supplies 
for the Tenth, the Air Service Command repaired, overhauled, salvaged, and 
manufactured aircraft. An outstanding result of this effort was the activities of 
the Hindustan Aircraft Corporation at Bangalore. The company was owned 

29 (1) CM-IN 1403, Stilwell to AG WAR, 4 Jul 42. (2) By merging the Trans-India and 
Assam-Burma-China Ferry Commands on 15 July, the India-China Ferry Command under General 
Naiden was activated. Ltr Order, signed Naiden, Hq Tenth USAF CBI, 9 Jul 42. AG 320.2. (3) 
Ltr, Bissell to Chennault, 25 Sep 42, sub: CATF. Item 268, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), 
CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (4) Rad 401, Naiden to Chennault, 7 Jul 42. AG (Tenth AF 322. (5) Ltr, 
Naiden to CO, Trans-India Ferry Comd, and CO, Assam-Burma-China Ferry Comd, 9 Jul 42. 
Item 221, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (6) Time, July 20, August 3, 
18, 24, 1942. (7) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, p. 495. (8) History of CBI, Sec. II, 
Ch. VI, Air Service Command. 

30 History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. VI, Air Service Command. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



201 



by Mysore and the Government of India. In addition to manufacturing and 
repairing planes for its owners, the plant was committed to manufacture fifty 
single-engined Vultees for the Chinese Republic. On 5 August the Hindustan 
Aircraft Corporation agreed to service, repair, overhaul, and fabricate all neces- 
sary parts of American-produced aircraft, engines, and equipment "regardless 
of use." At first the venture looked promising for the Tenth. 31 

Although the logistical situation in India was potentially better, Chen- 
nault had some local resources to operate on until the Hump could expand. 
A June survey of Chinese stocks, which the Generalissimo said could be used 
but would have to be replaced, revealed that (a) 72 P-40's could fly 18 mis- 
sions a month for three and a half months, (b) 11 B-25's could fly 8 missions 
during the same period, and (c) 12 B-24's could stage 2 missions over the same 
period. Spare parts, ammunition, and personnel supplies, however, were in 
very short supply. 32 

During the fall of 1942 the Tenth Air Force could not reveal its full 
potentialities. It was a time of preparation and orientation. The Tenth was 
dependent on the 12,000-mile supply route from the United States. Often 
there were diversions of aircraft and supplies along the way. The Indian trans- 
portation system between Karachi and the Assam fields was inefficient and 
was heavily burdened by the needs of the Indian divisions (4 Corps) and the 
Royal Air Force squadrons concentrating in northeastern India to guard against 
a possible Japanese invasion. The Indian environment was bad for both the 
Americans and the aircraft; heat and disease racked the aircrews and abrasive 
dust ground down the engines. General Arnold believed that there had been 
lack of proper attention by the Tenth's senior officers to the requirements of 
their men. 33 

But over and above its logistic difficulties the Tenth Air Force faced basic 
problems of strategy and command. If the Allies agreed, the Tenth was in 
position to play its tactical role. Each day of delay in agreeing on strategy 
meant that the Tenth would continue to fight on the principle of co-operation 
with the British and Chinese rather than in an Allied command with them. 
Difficulties and differences continued to breed as long as this condition existed. 
Airfield construction, deployment of units, operation of a transport line, selec- 
tion of targets, allocation of aircraft and air forces supply, and related problems 
necessarily moved from both Bissell and Stilwell for higher authority to solve. 34 

31 Ltr, Bissell to Stilwell, 3 Sep 42. Item 249, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, 
Dr 2, KCRC. 

32 CM-IN 9114, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Jun 42. 

33 (1) Ltr, Arnold to Bissell, 12 Sep 42. Incl to Item 206, Bk 3, JWS Personal File. (2) Craven 
and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, pp. 510-12. (3) Hist Sec (India) , India at War, 1939-1943, 
pp. 107-08. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (4) Brief History of the AAF in India and Burma, 1941-43. 
File 825.01, USAF Hist Div. (5) RAF Narrative, The Campaigns in the Far East, III, India Com- 
mand, September 1939 to Nov ember 1943. p. 82. U SAF Hist Qui 

34 See Ch. VII Jpp. 250ftj h. VH Upp. 266-92] Ch. IX | pp. 3 13-27] below. 



202 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The Services of Supply: The Indian Base 

The original War Department directive on 28 February to General 
Wheeler ordered him: 

To take necessary action required to push equipment and supplies through to General 
Stilwell and to assume all supply and administrative functions in India necessary to suc- 
cessful functioning of his command. 

To investigate and report upon special supply requirements; supplies locally procurable; 
special supply difficulties and the availability of storage space. 35 

The mission received more precise definition in April 1942: 

1. Operate the Services of Supply from base ports in Ind ia forward to include the rail- 
heads, river heads, and air line terminal in Assam. |[AL^> 6*~\\ 

2. Supply all U.S. ground forces in this theater of operations and the U.S. Air Forces to 
the extent requested by the Commanding General, American Air Forces in India. 

3. Receive, warehouse, assemble and transport Chinese lend-lease and other government 
supplies.* 6 

The scene of Wheeler's principal activities, India, was 12,000 miles from 
his port of embarkation, Los Angeles. The round trip by sea required about 
four months. India's military resources were at the disposal of General Head- 
quarters (India), whose attention was largely fixed on the Middle East. Though 
the Indian Army and the Government of India were very generous, still, the 
American military were as guests in another's home; the Americans could ask 
but could not command. Nationalist sentiment and Japanese successes greatly 
affected the Indian mind in summer 1942. The Government of India saw the 
Americans with their needs as another factor in a complex and unstable situa- 
tion, while Gandhi feared that the Americans were there simply to assist 
British rule. It is an irony of history that the soldiers brought to Asia to sup- 
port Chinese nationalism were suspect to its Indian counterpart. i7 

India was not a perfect base. Some 400,000,000 Indians weighed heavily on 
the agricultural resources of a land just entering upon the industrial revolution. 
There was no surplus capacity for unproductive military effort; Indian contri- 
butions were sacrifices. The climate and sanitary conditions were especially bad 
in those portions of India nearest to China, where the major part of the U.S. 
effort would necessarily be exerted. More than one hundred inches of rain a 
year fell in many places in Assam, one spot receiving more than 1,000 inches. 
Intestinal disease, malaria, plague, and smallpox were endemic. The difficulty 
of obtaining good fresh food in Assam made it worth while to fly perishables 

15 History of Services of Supply, China, India, Burma Theater, 28 February 1942-24 Ocrober 
1944, p. 1. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (Hereafter, SOS in CBI.) 

16 MS, History of SOS, USAF CBI, 42-43- Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

}7 (1) Memo, John P. Davies, Jr., Second Secy of U.S. Embassy, atchd to stf of CG, USAF CBI, 
for Stilwell, 14 May 42, with Incl, "Foreign Soldiers in India," by M. K. Gandhi, Harijan, April 
26, 1942. Hiscory of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. X. (2) CM-OUT 1740, Marshall to Stilwell, 6 Aug 42. 

* Inside back cover. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



203 



from China to India occasionally on returning transport aircraft. Soldiers lost 
weight and grew tired and listless because of vitamin deficiency. 38 

Shipping was always the sovereign influence on Allied strategy and to econ- 
omize it the U.S. forces were directed to make the maximum possible use of 
local resources. The port situation added weight to this policy. Bombay, then 
the best port in India, was "hopelessly clogged with mismanaged Allied ship- 
ping." 39 Calcutta, the second best, was so exposed to enemy air attack in 1942 
as to be thought unusable. And Karachi, the third choice, was separated from 
the Assam air bases by the whole width of India. 40 This expanse was inade- 
quately bridged by the Indian rail net. From Karachi to Delhi, rail traffic 
passed over a broad-gauge line, part of it double-tracked, that linked Karachi 
with the hinterland north of Delhi. From Delhi eastward connections were 
good until Assam was reached, where the real bottleneck was to be found in 
the Assam line of communications. As the SOS history describes it: 

The Assam LOC [Line of Communications] consisted of broad gauge lines of the Bengal 
and Assam Railway northward from Calcutta to Santahar and Parbatipur; meter gauge lines 
of the Bengal and Assam railway running eastward from Santahar and Parbatipur to 
northern Assam; meter gauge lines of the B & A Railway in east Bengal running eastward 
from a Brahmaputra River ferry connection with the Santahar Branch and northward from 
Chittagong to a junction with the main lines at Lumding; barge lines on the Brahmaputra 
River; combinations of rail and barge lines utilizing various transshipment points along the 
river. 41 

The broad-gauge section of the line seemed more than able to carry all the 
traffic that the meter-gauge section could take. The meter-gauge lines had been 
laid out to support the vast tea gardens of Assam, whose demands were light, 
and the intermediate managerial staff found it hard to cope with the growth 
of traffic from three or four trains a day to fourteen. Added to the inherent 
limitations of meter gauge and inexperienced personnel were the lack of ade- 
quate transshipment facilities from broad to meter gauge; the absence of a 
bridge across the Brahmaputra, which made ferries necessary; the heavy grade 
between Lumding and Manipur; the general shortage of rolling stock; and the 
frequent interruptions of traffic by the monsoon. 42 

General Headquarters (India) had been well aware of this, and in summer 
1942 suggested that U.S. railway troops operate key sections of the line. In 
compliance with the War Department's desire that they function with a mini- 
mum of U.S. troops, Stilwell and Wheeler declined the invitation. It may also 
be surmised that they were reluctant to assume added responsibility in an area 
that a few months before had been designated one of British responsibility. 

38 (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 3-4, 425. (2) SOS in CBI, App. 16, Medical Section, p. 16. 

39 SOS in CBI, pp. 3-4, 123, 131. 

40 MS 428, Army Service Forces Activities in the Supply of China, Burma, and India, 
1942-1943, p. 20. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

41 SOS in CBI, p. 48. 

42 SOS in CBI, pp. 48-52. 



204 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Nor was there yet the general recognition of the importance of the Assam line 
of communications which came later. 43 

In summer 1942 the British interest in the Assam line of communications 
was dominant. The line of communications served not only the American 
airfields which supported Chennault but the British 4 Corps in Manipur State 
and the tea industry. The tea gardens played the same role in sustaining the 
British civilian population that the coffee plantations of South America did 
for the American people. Whether the air raid warden in a London suburb 
would have his cup of hot tea after a difficult night with the German bombers 
depended in large measure on the tonnage allocations made by civilian agencies 
responsible to the Government of India, which sometimes gave short- 
commons to the Americans. 44 

First Plans and the Karachi Area 

The first American troop units in CBI were the air force personnel diverted 
from Java by General Brett. They arrived at Karachi on 12 March 1942 with 
28 trucks, some bombs, and some small arms ammunition, and needing 619 
trucks with other items in proportion. Stilwell's task force received overseas 
shipment of ten months' rations for 1,000 men, 155- and 105-mm. howitzers, 
rifles, machine guns, ammunition, a few vehicles, some communications equip- 
ment, and six 50-bed hospitals. The first SOS troop units— the 393d Quarter- 
master Battalion (Port) and the 159th Station Hospital— arrived at Karachi on 
16 May 1942. 45 

The initial War Department supply plan of 28 February 1942 directed that 
everything possible be procured locally, that six months' supplies of food and 
clothing be kept in India for all troops, and that an additional nine months' 
level be kept in China for 1,000 men. The directives of summer 1942 retained 
the six months' level for India and defined it as including supplies at the port 
of embarkation and in transit. Because India was so far from the United States 
the supply position was therefore precarious. The War Department ordered 
further that requisitions had to be for actual rather than projected strengths; 
since CBI personnel increased 500 percent between March and December 1942, 
the SOS had to run hard just to stay in place. 46 

Base Section No. 1 at Karachi was activated on 27 May 1942, Col. Paul F. 
Yount commanding, its initial area comprising 360,000 square miles. Present 

43 History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. X, p. 1. 

44 MS, History and Development of the Assam LOC, pp. 1-3, Movement and Transportation 
Div, Hq SACSEA. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

45 Strength Rpts, USAF CBI, Feb-May 42, OPD Green Book (Asiatic Sec). Gen Ref Br, 
OCMH. 

46 Rpt on Activities of Quartermaster Serv, Col Harvey Edward, Theater Quartermaster, 15 
Aug 42. Misc Corresp Folder (Mar-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



205 



in the area were 1,033 U.S. personnel, almost half of them medical. Because 
Wheeler had opened SOS headquarters at Karachi a few days before, offices, 
barracks, and staging areas had been obtained from General Headquarters 
(India). 47 

Most deficiencies in supplies were filled by reverse lend-lease (henceforth, 
reciprocal aid) from India, some by open-market purchase. Often, ingenuity 
was needed. One hundred and two sedans were bought in Karachi; 172 truck 
chassis were found in Bombay and wooden beds and cabs were made for them 
in Lahore. Cargo diverted from Rangoon and Singapore yielded much signal 
equipment, office furniture, and tools. The Chinese agreed to the transfer of 
many supplies from their lend-lease. Subsistence came from local firms on a 
contract basis. 

Building was accomplished by submitting requests to SOS headquarters, 
which passed them to General Headquarters (India), which in turn gave them 
to the Royal Engineers for performance. Sometimes as long as three months 
was needed to obtain sanction, and the actual construction, when finally begun, 
was done by primitive methods under the supervision of the Base Section 
engineer. The picture was one of U.S. engineers supervising work and handling 
heavy equipment, aided by great numbers of Indian laborers. Under these 
handicaps, work went forward, and by the end of 1942 the Karachi base had a 
staging area at North Malir cantonment, with accommodations for about 
20,000 men, barracks for about 2,000, a well-equipped air base with several 
landing fields, a depot area with railway spurs, and the other physical equip- 
ment of a functioning base. 

Some 1,500 Indian employees of all types, from typists to dock coolies, 
were employed on a reciprocal aid basis, with a consequent economy of U.S. 
manpower and funds. 48 

In addition to procuring and distributing supplies for the U.S. forces, the 
Karachi base had 20,000 long tons of Chinese lend-lease to safeguard. These 
vital supplies had been casually dumped at Karachi with no attempt to inven- 
tory, classify, or safeguard them, or even to clear them from the docks, while 
the Chinese in Washington were demanding that more supplies be shipped to 
India immediately. The SOS obtained 1,000,000 square feet of open storage 
plus 100,000 square feet of covered storage, and in three months 15,000 long 
tons of Chinese lend-lease were cleared off the docks and properly stored by 
SOS. In performing its duties of receipt and distribution, Base Section No. 1 
unloaded 130,342 long tons at Karachi between March and December 1942 
and shipped forward 54,1 40 long tons to other parts of the theater. A large 
portion of lend-lease ordnance was sent to Ramgarh for training purposes. 49 



47 GO 6, Hq SQS-USAF CBI, 27 May 42. 

48 (1) Rpt citec jnT 46.1 (2) SOS in CBI, App. 12, pp. 5-21. 

49 SOS in CBI, App. 7, Base Section No. 1, Sec. I, pp. 1, 2, 5, 8-13, 21. 



206 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



SOS Expands Across India Into China 

Base Section No. 2, with headquarters at Calcutta, began slowly and 
haltingly because of its exposure to air attack from Japanese bases in Burma. 
Its existence was authorized on 27 May 1942. The first commanding officer, 
Lt. Col. Edwin M. Sutherland, took up his duties on 22 June 1942, with a total 
personnel of four officers, and the section's first troops, Company E, 45 th 
Engineers with attached medical personnel, arrived on 20 September 1942 from 
Karachi. The first cargo arrived on 24 September, and by the end of the year 
a total of 9,686.5 tons was unloaded. 50 

Farther down the coast of India and out of range of all but the four-motored 
Kawanishi flying boats and raiding carrier aircraft were the ports of Madras and 
Vizagapatam. Unfortunately, these had but nine shipping berths between them, 
and moving cargo from them to Assam would mean more strain on the creaky 
rail system. Calcutta's facilities were excellent, and as soon as the threat of 
Japanese air attack lifted it was the obvious choice for a base to support the 
American effort in Assam. 

By authority of expediency the engineers were used as a port company. 
Americans were used as guards and checkers, and Indians were used for the 
other posts. Fourteen vehicles were on hand for all purposes. By the end of the 
year, when the engineers were sent to Assam to resume their normal role, Base 
Section No. 2's strength dropped to eleven officers and eighty-nine enlisted 
men. 51 

There were, however, obvious indications that this was only a lull. It had 
always been apparent that Karachi was poorly sited to be the main U.S. base, 
so in late summer 1942 SOS urged that the United States accept the hazards 
involved in making Calcutta the principal American base in India. Stilwell 
approved of Calcutta's use on 31 August 1942 and planning for the change 
began. 52 

There were many obstacles to be overcome before Calcutta could be an 
efficiently functioning base. The city, India's largest, was overcrowded; its 
people were strongly nationalist, and pro-Japanese sentiment was present; the 
food situation, soon to lead to a great famine, was already precarious. There 
were grave civil disturbances in Bengal Province during August 1942 when 
nationalist extremists sabotaged communications and attacked police stations. 
Strict neutrality was enjoined on the U.S. forces. Nevertheless, Calcutta was 
the logical base for Assam, so planning and preparation proceeded. 53 

Advance Section No. 1 under Maj. Henry C. Willcox, with headquarters 
temporarily at Agra, and later Allahabad, was activated on 27 May 1942 to 
"serve Air Force units within its area, to take delivery from British depots, and 

>° SOS in CBI, App. 3, Base Section No. 2, Sec. I, pp. 1-3, 5, 6, 8-13, Table 4. 
51 Ibid. 

" SOS in CBI, App. 3, Sees. II. IIIA. 

"(1) Document, p. 117, cited |n. 33(3)1 (2) CM-IN 5162, Stilwell to Marshall, 13 Aug 42. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



207 



to expedite shipments to forward areas." 54 Its first depot operated at Allahabad 
from July to December. The second depot opened at Gaya in November, 
assumed the responsibility for handling airfreight to China in December, and 
was redesignated Air Freight Reception and Discharge Depot No. I. 55 

Advance Section No. 2 under Maj. Henry A. Byroade, activated on 27 May 
1942, in northeastern India, had for its principal mission support of Tenth 
Air Force units flying cargo to China and the supplying of cargo to be carried 
by them. "It controlled the changeover from rail and river transportation to air 
transport of all supplies and equipment going in to China." Its Advance 
General Depot No. 2 was the railhead for supplies received and the supply 
point for troops within the area of the section. 56 

The SOS established itself in China with the activation of Advance Section 
No. 3 on 11 June 1942, with headquarters opened at Kunming soon after. Its 
supply levels were dependent on what could be flown in from India. The 
supply situation in China differed from the customary in that the Chinese Gov- 
ernment undertook to provide food and shelter for the Americans in hostels 
run by its War Area Service Command, thus substantially limiting the sphere 
of the SOS. To supervise and control lend-lease for the Thirty Divisions, 
Stilwell established an Eastern Section, SOS, under Col. Fabius H. Kohloss, 
which would have no territorial boundaries but would operate like a G-4 sec- 
tion in maintaining liaison between SOS and the Chinese in regard to lend- 
lease questions. Colonel Kohloss was also charged with the planning for 
rehabilitation of the Chinese section of the Burma Road in preparation for 
any offensive into Burma that might be launched from China. 57 

Local Procurement 

By August 1942 Wheeler could report to Stilwell "that the U.S. Forces 
were practically living off the land." 58 In India this involved a major feat of 
administration, based on the generous help of the Government of India, which 
in turn rested upon the real sacrifices of the Indian people. The basis of agree- 
ment between the U.S. Forces and the Government of India was given in a 
cable from the Secretary of State for India, from London, on 7 February 1942: 

54 GO cite d n. 47.1 

55 The airfreight reception and discharge depots were conveniently located near the chain of 
Tenth Air Force fields across India and China. SOS operated these installations, which were not 
depots in the general sense. Airfreight priority shipments were received, checked, and routed to 
the ultimate consignee within forty-eight hours. In this respect, the airfreight depots were merely 
clearing stations. Circular 12, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 3 Jul 42, and Memo 35, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 
11 Jul 42. 

56 GO cite l n. 47. I 

"(1) Ltr Order, Wheeler to Kohloss, 26 Nov 42. Hq Y-Force Operations Staff Files, KCRC. 
(2) Colonel Kohloss ordered his engineer, Maj. Louis Y. Dawson, to work with the Chinese in 
rehabilitating the Burma Road from Kunming to Pao-shan. The estimated cost for restoring and 
widening the highway amounted to CN (Chinese Nationalist currency) $117,424,400. Rpts 
1, 2, Dawson to Kohloss, 26 Jan 43, sub: ^uuaaa«Burma Highway. AG (Y-FOS) 611, KCRC. 

,8 (1) SOS in CBI, p. 132. (2) Rpt cited[n746. | 



208 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The U.S.A. authorities have called to our attention the importance of arrangements being 
made as soon as possible regarding the facilities and articles which the United Kingdom and 
Dominion Governments can furnish the U.S. Present and future dispositions of the U.S. 
Forces make prompt consideration of these questions of what may be described as "Reverse 
Lend Lease" desirable for practical purposes and we wish to approach the matter in a gen- 
erous spirit. However, to give complete reciprocity is impossible. One of the main objects 
of Lend Lease has been to obtain from the U.S.A. those munitions and materials for which 
we could not pay out of our dollar resources and current dollar earnings. We still have 
considerable dollar commitments in the U.S.A. arising from pre-lend lease contracts and 
not all our requirements are being obtained under Lend Lease. We cannot therefore afford 
to reduce our current dollar earnings by foregoing payment of raw materials and commercial 
supplies. We should then transfer to the U.S.A. on Lend Lease terms war munitions and 
military stores (and analagous services such as servicing or repairing such stores) whether 
these are issues from stores or involve the placing of a special contract in this country. We 
should include machine tools in munitions for this purpose. We should sell stores to con- 
tractors working for the U.S. Raw materials and commercial supplies we would continue to 
sell for cash. 59 

On receipt of this cable an agreement became a matter of defining terms 
to mutual satisfaction. It was agreed on 22 March 1942 that "raw materials 
and commercial supplies" meant those articles normally exported by India to 
the United States, such as mica, jute goods, hog bristles, manganese, shellac, 
and chromite, of which only jute for sandbags and sacking would figure in 
SOS's calculations. "Military stores" were agreed to include everything the 
Army used, including timber, cement, steel, and coal, though the Indian repre- 
sentatives pointed out to Wheeler that steel was in extremely short supply. 60 

Provision of rations was questioned by the Government of India because 
of the bad local food situation, but Generals Brereton and Wheeler pointed 
out that food could be imported from the United States only by sacrificing 
badly needed arms and that the Quartermaster General (India) had stated he 
could supply 50,000 U.S. troops. The trend of discussion revealed that the 
Indian authorities with whom Wheeler was negotiating were disposed to place 
a liberal interpretation upon the 7 February cable from London and to do their 
best to supply the Americans. In this favorable atmosphere negotiations pros- 
pered, and on 8 June Wheeler with Somervell's approval informed the 
Government of India that he accepted their most recent proposals, which were 
then distributed as a letter of instructions from the Government of India to 
all Indian Army agencies. 61 

The agreement provided that the SOS would obtain the bulk of its require- 
ments by requisition on the Government of India. Demands would be placed 
through SOS headquarters rather than through the section commanders. A 
priority board would consider the supply aspects, and a lend-lease committee, 
the eligibility for transfer of the items sought. Actual procurement would be 



59 SOS in CBI, pp. 124-25. 

60 SOS in CBI, pp. 123-28. 

61 Ibid. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



209 



through normal Government of India channels. In requisitioning construction, 
U.S. forces would accept the usual Indian Army scale of office or housing 
accommodations or pay cash for desired additional facilities. Supplies not 
obtained on reciprocal aid could be bought in the open market or imported 
from the United States. In regard to open-market buying, it was agreed that 
American commanders would not bid against one another or against the Gov- 
ernment of India, nor would they embarrass the price and supply position 
prevailing. In practice this meant the co-ordination of all purchases over 1,000 
rupees ($330.00) by SOS headquarters. 62 

Reciprocal aid was also extended to the Chinese Army in India, which 
was paid, fed, clothed, and housed thereby. Much of its ordnance came from 
U.S. lend-lease to China as did approximately 75 percent of its medical 
requirements. 

Because of these agreements, by fall 1942 all rations were being procured 
locally except for canned fruits and vegetables which came from the United 
States and raw coffee which was bought in Brazil and ground in India. Indian 
coffee, without the chicory usually present, was later substituted. Specifications 
and patterns for clothing and web equipment were obtained from the United 
States, and contracts let to Indian factories. Aviation gasoline and motor fuel 
were being procured from local sources, which in turn were supplied from 
Iran. As a rule, lubricating oils and greases came from the United States. Office, 
signal, and electrical supplies were obtained locally, and many such items came 
from frustrated cargo originally bound for Southeast Asia. 63 

Unable to obtain data from the Government of India, SOS estimated that 
the U.S. forces received $36,000,000 reciprocal aid in 1942. The Government 
of India was unwilling to set a value on reciprocal aid. Repeated requests to 
India for such information were met with the argument that this would impose 
an administrative burden which India was not prepared to assume. The Amer- 
icans were also told that the Government of India was not keeping any records 
showing the value of goods or services supplied to the United States under 
reciprocal aid. Since a postwar settlement of lend-lease accounts was expected 
in which the United States would be badly handicapped were it compelled to 
accept countering claims at face value, the SOS created its own system for 
appraising every item received and let its existence be known. 64 

The Reciprocal Aid System at Work 

As both parties to the reciprocal aid agreement began to operate under it, 
difficulties soon arose from its application. There were two major areas in 
which differences were fairly numerous: SOS reluctance to accept Indian Army 



62 SOS in CBI, pp. 128-30. _ 
6} (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 132-34. (2) MS, pp. 159-61, citec j n. 40 
64 SOS in CBI, pp. 160-63. 1 



210 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



standards of accommodation, and the reluctance of U.S. officers in the field 
to use the slow reciprocal aid machinery as against more rapid purchases in 
the open market. On the question of standards SOS contended that any requisi- 
tion for the U.S. forces in India was by definition in furtherance of the war 
effort and so should be approved. The Government of India contended that 
additions to the Indian Army scale should be covered by American cash pur- 
chases. So many differences arose on this point that Wheeler was moved to 
draft a cable to the War Department summarizing the situation, which he 
then showed to the Quartermaster General (India). 65 

Conferences with the Government of India immediately followed. One 
point at issue was solved by the initiative of General Headquarters (India) 
in bringing their troops to a higher ration scale, while they yielded to Wheeler 
on the matter of woolen clothing, another disputed point. The matter was 
finally settled by a compromise agreement that U.S. requests would be con- 
sidered on their own merits, that the United States would not ask for imported 
items, that differences would be resolved in India if at all possible, and that 
SOS would, on request, withdraw requisitions which might embarrass the 
Government of India. 66 

Local purchases offered even more complex problems. To American ways 
of thought, the supply mechanism of the Government of India was slow, but 
India could retort that in many cases local U.S. commanders did not preplan 
their requirements and allow enough time for procurement. Further, if rapid 
delivery was required, the local supplier was quite ready to exact an exorbitant 
price, and this the Government of India was unwilling to pay. There was also 
a general suspicion of the whole lend-lease process on the part of the Indian 
public, of which manufacturers and suppliers were part. The SOS was not 
always innocent, for at times it failed to take delivery of an item which it had 
earlier asked be procured. SOS fully shared India's views on the undesirability 
of SOS's operating in the open market, with all that such operations implied 
of bidding against the Government of India. So SOS set up a Procurement 
Section in fall 1942 to provide central control of all open-market purchases. 67 

The Procurement Section investigated Indian supply sources, screened 
requisitions on the United States from local commanders to make sure supplies 
could not be obtained locally, and examined, in the light of known market 
conditions, requests which India had rejected. In time the Procurement Sec- 
tion's efforts to cut local market purchases for the American forces met with 
real success. 

The Procurement Section also improved the functioning of reciprocal aid. 
Close liaison was maintained with American diplomatic and consular agencies 

65 SOS in CBI, pp. 137-40. 

66 Ibid. 

67 (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 142-47. (2) GO 27, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 1 Sep 42. (3) Cf. Mohandas 
K. Gandhi in Harijan, 26 April 1942: "We know what American aid means. It amounts in the 
end to American influence, if not American rule added to British." 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



211 



to gain the fullest knowledge of Indian resources and to expand them through 
nonmilitary lend-lease if local production might be increased thereby. Thus, 
tire-making equipment was ultimately lend-leased to Indian factories to permit 
them to supply SOS with automobile and aircraft tires under reciprocal aid. 68 

Lend-Lease Responsibilities 

The SOS was an executive and not a policy-making organization for Chi- 
nese lend-lease and was charged with receiving, storing, and transshipping 
materiel in accord with directives from above. Because SOS had clerical and 
warehousing facilities, on 1 September 1942 the Chinese agreed to have SOS 
handle all the different varieties of materiel destined for China that had been 
diverted to India during and after the First Burma Campaign. 69 

These may be differentiated by the program under which they were pro- 
cured or by the procuring agency. 

1. By program: 

a. Those items procured for the use of Ministries of the Chinese Government and for 
Chinese Troops other than those under American sponsorship or supervision. . . . 

b. Those items procured for Chinese Troops under American sponsorship or super- 
vision. . . . 

2. By procurement: 

a. Items procured by the War Department. . . . 

b. Items procured by the Foreign Economic Administration. . . . 

c. Items procured by the Universal Trading Corporation ... a corporation set up 
to purchase for the use of the Chinese agencies non-military or indirect [sic} military mate- 
rial with cash loaned by the United States Government. . . . 

d. Some small amounts of items procured from the British in India for use of the 
[U.S.-sponsored Chinese Forces]. . . . 

e. Items of Canadian War Supplies under the Canadian Mutual Aid Program . . . the 
U.S. Army having only custody for purposes of receipt storage and onward movement to 
China. 

Materiel was procured by the War Department and by the Foreign 
Economic Administration alike for Chinese and American programs, though 
generally items procured by the Foreign Economic Administration were for 
Chinese account and were nonmilitary in nature. Since each of the above types 
of materiel had different legal status, "The difficulties encountered in laying 
down general rules for the control, handling, and reporting of all types become 
readily apparent." 

Initial handling of Chinese materiel was not systematic. Chinese requests 
for shipments from War Department procured stocks to China were made 
orally, and no confirming written directives were issued. Since China National 
Aviation Corporation flew Chinese materiel over the Hump, the United States 
was not further concerned once delivery was made to the corporation by the 

68 SOS in CBI, pp. 148-51, 157-59- 

69 Unless otherwise indicated, material in this section is drawn from SOS in CBI, App. 11, 
China Lend-Lease Section. 



212 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



SOS. The earliest known tally-out for movement of Chinese materiel from 
Karachi to Assam is dated 11 June 1942. "No regular periodic reports of 
receipts and issues were instituted until September 1942. . . ." 

The Chinese Board of Transport Control was charged with handling, 
storing, and transporting all materiel procured by the Chinese, how casually has 
been noted. Gradually the opinion grew that it would be best if SOS bore the 
sole responsibility for all goods destined for China, irrespective of their legal 
status, and that the entire process should be placed on a businesslike basis. 

These trends finally crystallized in a new arrangement, which was made on 
2 August 1942 between General Wheeler and Commissioner Shen Shih-hua of 
the Board of Transport Control. On 1 September 1942 SOS took over all lend- 
lease and Chinese-procured materiel then in India and assumed responsibility 
for future receipt, storage, and transshipment. This left the Chinese with the 
responsibility of calling forward materiel intended for Chinese agency pro- 
grams, as air cargo space for China was available. As a result of the agreement, 
and of the Board of Transport Control's delegating so much of its responsi- 
bility, SOS inherited most of the Chinese commission's employees, over 400 of 
them in Assam alone. 

The duties given to the SOS were a considerable step toward complete U.S. 
administrative control of the very considerable quantities of lend-lease that 
were in India and on the way there. As cargoes of lend-lease or related materiel 
were discharged at Karachi, SOS gave the Chinese a checked manifest and a 
tally-in sheet, both itemized in detail. As cargoes moved out of Karachi toward 
Assam and the airfields, SOS gave the Chinese shipping advices and tally-out 
sheets in complete detail. On arrival at Assam tally-in sheets went to the 
Chinese, and tally-out sheets were furnished when the goods left for China. 
Priorities were set by the Chinese for the movement of goods by China 
National Aviation Corporation transports. Stilwell set priorities for dispatch of 
cargo by U.S. aircraft. 

This latter provision meant that as the proportion of U.S. aircraft flying 
cargo to China steadily increased, Stilwell's power to determine what cargo 
went to China increased with it. The Generalissimo's objections to Stilwell's 
role in the lend-lease field had been made clear in the Three Demands crisis. 
Now, administrative processes were extending this control. Since there was 
only so much air cargo space at his disposal, Stilwell, as events showed, was 
adamant that it should be used only for the effective prosecution of the war, 
which to him meant arms for the Thirty Divisions and supplies for Chennault's 
aircraft, in such proportions as Stilwell might determine. 

Ramgarh Training Center 

In April 1942 the Generalissimo gave his approval in principle to Stilwell's 
plan to train a Chinese Army in India. As the likelihood of defeat in Burma 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



213 



increased so did the number of the Generalissimo's reservations on StilwelPs 
27 April plan, which was now in need of recasting. When the Chinese began 
to reach India, and the full impact of the Burma debacle was felt, the Gen- 
eralissimo's initial reaction was to have his troops spend the next three months 
at the hill station of Darjeeling, from which they might retreat to China via 
Tibet should the Japanese attack India. On 24 June the Generalissimo went so 
far as to tell Stilwell he might send 50,000 men to India. On the 29th the 
Generalissimo approved Ramgarh in Bihar Province as a site, but by that time 
the Three Demands crisis was under way and so his approval on 2 July went 
to a much more modest scheme. StilwelPs alternate plan was: to train the 9,000 
men as artillerists and heavy weapons specialists; to equip them with lend-lease 
arms; to organize them into ten artillery and four heavy weapons battalions; 
to move them into Burma in the wake of a British attack; then, to send them 
to Yunnan to give fire power to the Thirty Divisions. The Generalissimo 
agreed that Stilwell would command these troops and would control training 
and supply, with the Chinese handling discipline and administration. 70 

The facilities of Ramgarh were ample and suggested larger schemes. The 
camp had held 20,000 Italian prisoners of war and had actual housing facilities 
for 12,000 men. There was "a healthful climate and a low malarial rate ... an 
open and contrasting terrain for training and firing ranges. Central lighting and 
water systems also had been installed, and messing, washing, and latrine facili- 
ties were available." If the sanitary facilities were improved, it was estimated 
that 20,000 men could be accommodated. 71 

With the improvement in Sino- American relations that followed Currie's 
visit, Stilwell returned to the idea of creating in India a Chinese Army able to 
play its part in retaking Burma. The Generalissimo was co-operative and 
agreed to provide 23,000 more men for Ramgarh, with which Stilwell could 
create by February 1943 a force of two full divisions, three artillery regiments, 
an engineer regiment, ten artillery battalions, and 1,500 Chinese instructors for 
thirty divisions. The plan thus hinged on the Government of India's approval 
of such an increase in the number of Chinese in India. It appeared a great step 
forward to Stilwell, who took the Generalissimo's approval as evidence that 
he was at least partly converted. If such was the case, then the approval was 
vital, for it would be extremely unwise to anger the Generalissimo at the 
moment he was consenting to accept U.S. aid. 72 

70 (1) CM-IN 0535, Gruber to Stilwell, 2 May 42. (2) CM-IN 0174, Gruber to Stilwell, 2 
May 42. (3) CM-IN 7479, Chungking to AGWAR, 28 Apr 42. (4) CM-OUT 5677, Marshall to 
Stilwell, 29 Apr. 42. (5) CM-IN 5665, Stilwell to Stimson, 17 Jun 42. (6) CM-IN 0570, Stilwell 
to Marshall, 2 Jul 42. (7) Ltr, Ferris to COS, GHQ (India). 2 Aug 42 . Folder, Chinese Army 
(Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (8) History, pp. 1-2, cited |n. 7(3*1 (9) The Stilwell Papers, 
p. 117. 1 1 

71 (1) MS, Ramgarh Training Center, p. 4. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2)Ltr, McCabe to Sibert, 2 
Jul 42, sub: Reception of Chinese Troops at Ramgarh. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref 
Br, OCMH. 

72 CM-IN 10253, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Sep 42. 



214 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The proposal met with objections from Wavell, General Headquarters 
(India), and the Government of India. At first Wavell approved (27 Septem- 
ber), but in two days he asked Stilwell for a formal written request, including 
the reasons. General Sibert replied for Stilwell, stating that the reason was to 
aid in the reconquest of Burma, and giving assurances that there was no plan to 
operate independently. In later discussions Wavell suggested a whole host of 
administrative difficulties, making the Ramgarh project seem impossible. Asked 
to intervene by Stilwell, Marshall went into action on the CCS level, placing 
his case before Field Marshall Sir John Dill of the Joint Staff Mission to Wash- 
ington. Dill was told that Stilwell had to bear personally the Generalissimo's 
anger at the presence of Chinese troops in India. Reminding Dill of the original 
agreement to provide bases in India for StilwelPs operations, Marshall asked 
him to consider the consequences of an obstructive attitude by the Government 
of India. Marshall also told Roosevelt of the problem, saying he hoped to 
handle the matter through Dill but wanted the President to know of it. Dill's 
answers made it quite clear that the objections of the Government of India 
caused the difficulty. 73 

That body, possessed of great powers, had developed a policy of its own 
which did not always accord with the wishes of the War Cabinet. Dill told his 
American colleague that the British Chiefs of Staff favored the increase but the 
local authorities objected. The Government of India thought that the General- 
issimo had been entirely too close to Indian nationalist opinion. Moreover, 
they disliked the contrast between a Chinese Army well equipped by lend-lease 
supplies and the Indian forces that they were then able to raise. Furthermore, 
the Government of India feared that if domestic troubles came to a head, the 
Chinese might side with the Congress Party. 74 Soon after, Stilwell was able to 
radio the good news that there was no further objection to an increase in the 
Ramgarh force, that the administrative problems had vanished: "Remarkable 
change. They must have gotten the word from London." 75 

Operation of Ramgarh Training Center 

A venture in three-power co-operation, Ramgarh Training Center was 
formally activated on 26 August 1942. Indian authorities were responsible for 
providing the Chinese troops with rupees (for pay and local purchases), certain 
items of ordnance, medical stores and equipment, rations, gas and oil, trans- 
portation, and accommodations. Any items in the above categories which the 

73 (1) Ibid. (2) Memo with Incl, Marshall for President, 10 Oct 42, sub: China-India-Stilwell. 
WDCSA (China), A45-466. (3) Rad, AMMDEL to AMMISCA, 29 Sep 42. Item 43, Bk 1, JWS 
Personal File. (4) Rad, Stilwell to Sibert, 30 Sep 42. Item 45, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (5) Ltr, 
Sibert to GHQ (India), 1 Oct 42. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (6) 
The Stilwell Papers, pp. 162-64. (7) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 6 Oct 42. WDCSA (China), A45- 
466. (8) CM-IN 4048, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Oct 42. 

74 Ltrs, Dill to Marshall, 13, 19 Oct 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

"(1) CM-IN 11578, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Oct 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 164. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



215 



Indian authorities could not furnish, chiefly heavy ordnance equipment, includ- 
ing vehicles, were bought and charged against British lend-lease to China. The 
frustrated Chinese lend-lease cargo was a primary source for this latter item. 
The SOS placed requisitions on the Indian authorities on behalf of the Chinese 
forces, received supplies, and with them took care of supply and administration 
for the post, including medical care for the Chinese. The Chinese were respon- 
sible for unit administration and discipline and for supplying the men to be 
trained and equipped. Replacements and fillers provided the next major 
problem, as once again it appeared that the Generalissimo's formal engagement 
was not binding on his subordinates. 76 

In September replacements were not forthcoming to bring the 22d and 38th 
Divisions up to strength to meet the current Ramgarh plan, let alone the 
greater one that Stilwell was earnestly expounding. Colonel Aldrich, then com- 
manding the Kunming Area Command, had to put the very heaviest pressure 
on Gen. Ma Tseng Liu, representative of the Ministry of War, to get the flow 
of troops from China to India via the airline under way. StilwelPs chief of staff, 
General Hearn, sent some rather strong letters to General Ho Ying-chin, for 
Stilwell insisted that after the trouble he had had in getting the Government 
of India's concurrence, the project must not be allowed to die of Chinese in- 
difference. The actual passage of Chinese troops began on 20 October. Some 
4,000 flew to India that month, but Stilwell was not satisfied and ordered his 
Chungking headquarters to remonstrate with Ho once again. This latter effort 
brought results. The Chinese soon passed the desired 400-a-day figure, and 
theater headquarters had to limit daily shipment to 650 because Assam trans- 
portation facilities were congested. 77 

Water supply was the chief barrier to the expansion of Ramgarh to hold 
23,000 more Chinese troops. A camp site near by seemed promising, but it was 
very close to the Argada and Sirka coal mines. Coal was vital to the war effort; 
so when the mine operators argued that the Chinese would frighten away the 
unsophisticated jungle folk who dug the coal, their plea carried the day. The 
Chinese were then quartered on the south side of the Damodar River. When 
in 1943 the question arose again, the same objections were raised. This time 
they were ignored, and the presence of the Chinese had no discernible effect 
on the miners. Generally, the discipline of the Chinese Army in India was 
excellent. 78 

There were three headquarters at Ramgarh: the training center, the post, 
and Chih Hui Pu. Activated on 4 October, the last was headquarters for the 
Chinese Army in India, charged with administration and discipline of the 

76 MS, pp. 7-8, cited n | 71(1). I 

77 (1) History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. VI, Chinese Fillers Fly the Hump, pp. 1-4. (2) Memo, 
Boatner for Brig Gen William E. Bergin, CofS, Rear Echelon, Chih Hui Pu, 11 Jun 43, sub: 
Random Notes on Evolution and Organization of Chinese Army in India. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

78 SOS in CBI, pp. 490-92. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



217 



Chinese soldiers. Its combat role was as yet undecided. Stilwell commanded, 
General Lo was vice-commander, and Brig. Gen. Haydon L. Boatner was chief 
of staff. The question of who was actually the superior officer, Lo or Stilwell, 
arose in September, as it had a few months before in Burma, and in a brief 
passage at arms Stilwell broke the news to Lo that Lt. Gen. J. W. Stilwell 
commanded. 79 Stilwell also announced that Lo would not be given any lump 
sums from which to pay his troops, the customary procedure which permitted 
large amounts to stay in the commander's pockets. 

This announcement was a preliminary skirmish, and battle was joined in 
October after the activation of Chih Hui Pu. Lo again demanded 450,000 
rupees; and when told that 270,000 rupees, the amount actually required to pay 
the 22d and 38th Divisions, was at hand, he refused to have anything to do 
with it. His attitude plainly revealed his belief that the Americans were 
whimsically and arbitrarily blocking a legitimate transaction. Lo had also in- 
sisted on diverting replacements for the 22d and 38th into the Chih Hui Pu or 
Army troops, which he thought of as his. As a result Chih Hui Pu was soon 
4,000 men overstrength while the 22d and 38th Divisions were short at this 
time five to six thousand men each. For Lo to have used replacements to fill 
the divisions of two generals who were strangers to him and concurrently lose 
all hope of ever claiming the pay of the 4,000 men would have been completely 
alien to the accepted Chinese practice. But such customs as these had reduced 
the Chinese Army to near impotence; Stilwell did not propose to connive at 
them, and Lo was sent back to China. 80 

The senior officer of the SOS was post commander and functioned in a 
manner similar to the commanding general of a service command in the United 
States, with no authority over training. One of the earliest problems faced by 
Col. William A. Fuller and his successor, Brig. Gen. William H. Holcombe, 
was the medical treatment and reconditioning of Chinese soldiers. To accom- 
plish this task, they had the services of the Seagrave medical unit, of Maj. 
Gordon Seagrave, of a British Red Cross Unit, and, after 21 August, of the 98th 
Station Hospital. According to the SOS history: 

The Chinese were in bad condition. Malnutrition, malaria, dysentery, and Naga sores 
(large, ulcer-like sores on the limbs) soon brought the Ramgarh hospital population to 
1,300, but the Chinese had remarkable recuperative powers when fed plenty of rice and given 
good medical care. They were soon ready for [sanitary] training which they needed as badly 
as they needed medical care. They cared nothing about cleanliness or sanitation. . . . They 

79 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 149. (2) Chih Hui Pu Diary, 4 Oct 42. Folder, Chinese Army 
(Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

80 (1) Diary, 16, 20 Oct, 18 Nov 42, cited n. 79(2). ( 2 ) Memo cited n. 77(2). (3) For a time 
at least, Lo had the support of the Chinese War Ministry, which asked that Lo be given 100,000 
rupees a month "to meet general office expenses and special disbursements of that headquarters" 
and 350,000 rupees a month to pay his two divisions plus army troops. Ltr 7511, Ho Ying-chin 
to Stilwell, 6 Nov 42. SNF-13g. It will be remembered that the expenses at Ramgarh were being 
borne by reciprocal aid. 



218 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



were careless about allowing water to remain in containers, with the result that mosquitoes 
were breeding everywhere . . . [but] by October 1942 there was a "high degree of sanitation 
at Ramgarh." 81 

In the early days at Ramgarh the rather curious supply system, under which 
the SOS placed requisitions on Indian authority for the Chinese, often creaked 
and groaned and sometimes failed to produce. This was not peculiar to 
Ramgarh for the same thing often happened at other U.S. installations in India 
as the nations concerned learned to work together. Ramgarh Training Center 
was commanded by Brig Gen. (then Col.) Frederick McCabe, who was respon- 
sible directly to Stilwell. Theoretically, the center was free of Chinese influence, 
but, as McCabe wrote to Colonel Ferris, "You know how that works with the 
Chinese with their ability to circumvent whenever they don't wanna." Though 
the Chih Hui Pu chief of staff, General Boatner, had no formal authority over 
the training center, McCabe found him a great aid in keeping the Chinese 
content and busy. 82 

The center originally had infantry and artillery sections, reflecting the plan 
to train such units. Believing they would enter combat in winter 1942-43, the 
center tried to train them as rapidly as possible. With the adoption of the plan 
for a Chinese army corps, the center changed accordingly. From 15 September 
on it had a headquarters and headquarters detachment, plus infantry and 
artillery sections. A special units section, added 25 November 1942, gave all 
specialist training needed in the infantry division. The basic concept of the 
center was StilwelPs belief that the Chinese soldier could learn his trade and, 
once taught, be as good as any. Therefore, divisions of such men under a leader- 
ship willing to attack should be equal to the reconquest of Burma. Under a 
program based on the U.S. Mobilization Training Programs, the Chinese were 
taught to use rifles, light and heavy machine guns, 60-mm. and 81-mm. mortars, 
rocket launchers, hand grenades, and 37-mm. antitank guns under any condi- 
tions. An eight-day course in jungle warfare was given after the soldiers had 
mastered use of their weapons. The artillery section for six weeks taught the 
use of pack artillery, 105-mm. and 155-mm. howitzers, and assault guns, with 
emphasis on jungle operations. 83 

So that Chinese units would be able to give emergency medical care in 
combat, Chinese medical personnel were trained at Ramgarh. A number of 
courses were offered, including one of six months intended to train intelligent 
junior officers to perform a variety of medical services. Chinese line officers got 
courses in field sanitation to prevent the diseases that had taken such a toll in 
1942. Short courses in dentistry and veterinary service were offered, to provide 
men who could perform certain basic tasks in the field. Field hospitals for the 

81 SOS in CBI, App. 16, Medical Section, p. 14. 

82 (1) Ltr, McCabe to Ferris, 10 Nov 42. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, 

OCMH. (2) SOS in CBI, p. 486 

83 MS, pp. 7-10, 29-46, citec |n. 71(1)H 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



219 




STAFF DISCUSSION AT RAMGARH TRAINING CENTER, 1942. Left to 
right, General Yang, Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, General Stilwell, General Sun, and 
Maj, Gen. Liao Yao-shiang. 

Chinese divisions were equipped and trained at Ramgarh and at Ledo. Ulti- 
mately, individual training in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine was 
given at Ramgarh to men from five Chinese divisions. 84 

In providing basic training to individual officers and men, American 
personnel at the center found that the basic principles of pedagogy applied to 
Chinese as well as to Americans but that great ingenuity was needed to over- 
come the language barrier, the concept of face, and the indifference of the 
Chinese to time. Under the belt-line instruction system, a different instructor 
taught each phase of a subject. By constant practice the American instructor, 
with his interpreter, became adept at conveying his meaning to the peasant lads 
who clustered around the strange products of Detroit and Pittsburgh. 

The interpreters were indispensable. Usually members of the student class, 
they were often highly intelligent but ignorant of military matters and so had 
to be previously instructed in military phraseology and concepts. Careful super- 

84 U.S. Army Medical Service in Combat in India and Burma, 1942-1945, MS by lsi Lt James 
H. Stone, Medical Historian, India-Burma Theater, Vol. I, pp. 72-75, 78-80, 83. Gen Ref Br, 
OCMH. 



220 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



vision was needed to see that they did not embroider the instruction with their 
own ideas. It took perhaps three times as long to teach a subject through 
interpreters as to teach where no language barriers were present. 

The concept of face made it hard to train field grade officers with their 
juniors, commissioned officers with noncommissioned officers, and all holders 
of rank with enlisted men. Overcoming the preconceived notions implanted 
by seven years of passive defense was also hard. Chinese with long experience 
of war as they had known it did not take kindly to the suggestions of men who 
had never been under fire. Because the Chinese had been weak in artillery, they 
had fewer preconceived notions in that field and so artillery instruction went 
ahead faster than infantry. 

The time problem was vexing, because in conformity with American cul- 
tural patterns classes had to attend instruction at fixed times. This notion was 
strange to the Chinese, who thought one hour quite as good as another. Con- 
sequently, the best efforts of liaison officers were needed to keep the flow of 
students on schedule. 85 

When Chinese officers and enlisted men of the 22d and 38th Divisions 
completed approximately six weeks of basic training and indoctrination, the 
Chinese units were reassembled and began to conduct their own training. This 
training was guided by directives issued by the training center. The Chinese 
applied these themselves while American liaison personnel kept the center 
apprised of the Chinese progress. The training center supplied facilities, train- 
ing aids, ammunition, and instructors as required. Since the responsibility for 
meeting the standards set by the directives and by the commanding generals of 
the 22d and 38th Divisions lay with the Chinese themselves, they set the hours 
of training, which were long, and the pace, which was steady. The Americans 
aided and guided; the British and Indians provided food, clothing, pay, shelter, 
and the bulk of the needed supplies. The basic principle was to help the 
Chinese to help themselves. 86 

Summary 

As it became apparent in the summer of 1942 that the crisis in Sino- 
American relations precipitated by General Brereton's transfer from India to 
Egypt would be amicably adjusted, Stilwell gave his expanding forces the 
organization of a theater of operations. The tremendous geographic expanse 
involved, the unreliable nature of communications and transport, and the cir- 
cumstance that the two major portions of Stilwell's theater were under two 
different Supreme Commanders, Chiang and Wavell, forced a considerable 
degree of decentralization. Stilwell's principal headquarters, and the one in 

85 MS, pp. 5, 11, 29, 83-86, cite J n .71(1). I 

86 Interv with Lt Col William B. Powell, Former Opns Off, Ramgarh Training Center, 28 
Nov 50. 



U.S. FORCES ORGANIZE 



221 



which he spent most of his time, was at Chungking. This headquarters had a 
Branch Office at New Delhi. 

The two major headquarters under Stilwell's theater headquarters were the 
SOS under General Wheeler, and the Tenth Air Force under General Bissell. 
Reflecting the logistic difficulties of operations in China, most of the SOS and 
Air Force installations and strength were in India. In India, the SOS spent the 
summer of 1942 in establishing itself, storing Chinese lend-lease, and support- 
ing the Tenth Air Force and the nascent Chinese Army in India. The Tenth 
Air Force was deploying itself toward Burma. In China, General Chennault was 
trying to shape an air task force from the remnants of the American Volunteer 
Group plus a few untried replacements. 



CHAPTER VII 



The Attempt To Plan a 
Spring Campaign 

The efforts of Currie and Stilwell had been attended by a great improvement 
in the atmosphere at Chungking. The Chinese attitude suggested a willingness 
to be satisfied with less than the full letter of the Three Demands. 1 In Wash- 
ington, too, the prospects for more effective Sino- American co-operation were 
brighter. The vigor of the Chinese response to sending Brereton to the Middle 
East was further evidence that the Atlantic First policy had consequences which 
the United States could not afford to disregard. If the two powers, China and 
the United States, could establish a working accord, then the success of Stilwell's 
mission would be more likely and a powerful Chinese Army might play a 
significant part in the Pacific war. 

U.S. Answer to the Three Demands 

The answer to the Three Demands which the War Department wrote for 
the President was based on a changed attitude in the Operations Division of 
the War Department. Stilwell's request in May for U.S. combat troops had 
been coolly received. Soon after in June came the great American naval victory 
at Midway. The sinking of 4 Japanese aircraft carriers and 1 heavy cruiser at a 
loss of 1 American aircraft carrier had shifted the balance of naval power in the 
Pacific quite clearly to the Americans. They began to think in more aggressive 
terms, and so on 2 July 1942 the United States resolved to make an offensive- 
defensive effort in the Solomon Islands. Several weeks later, the United States 
and Great Britain decided to attempt the occupation of French North Africa 
(Operation Torch). Torch was given highest priority, thereby limiting what 
could be sent to the Pacific and, even more so, to Stilwell in CBI. 2 On 7 August 
Marines landed on Guadalcanal Island. 

Four days after the landing, Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to 
the President, suggested to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that a specific commit- 

1 Se^Ch^^above. 

2 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, Ch. XXV. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



223 



ment be made to open the Burma Road. The Navy adopted this view and often 
in the days to come urged aggressive Allied action in Burma to support Pacific 
operations. 3 Leahy's proposal undoubtedly influenced what soon followed in 
the Operations Division of the War Department. 

OPD weighed the Generalissimo's Three Demands against U.S. capabilities 
and, on 14 August, suggested to General Marshall that U.S. aircraft commit- 
ments to China be meticulously discharged, that aircraft replacements be 
forwarded promptly, and that the Combined Chiefs of Staff be urged to consider 
retaking Burma after the monsoon rains ended. The Operations Division 
accepted in full and strongly urged StilwelPs and Magruder's recommendations 
that lend-lease to China should be contingent on the Chinese Government's 
meeting certain conditions. Lend-lease to China should not be given as 
philanthropy but rather on a quid pro quo basis, with Chinese military reforms 
to precede it and Chinese military accomplishments to be the sole acceptable 
guarantee of its continuance. General Marshall and Secretary Stimson approved 
this approach to the problems of Sino- American relations and recommended it 
to the President. 4 

On 25 August Marshall presented to the JCS the OPD proposal that Burma 
be retaken. In the light of nationalist disturbances then under way in India, he 
hesitated to advance the subject but thought the Burma operation should be 
investigated and analyzed to determine what could be done. Admiral Leahy 
suggested the proposal be placed before the CCS. A specific agreement to open 
the Burma Road seemed essential to the admiral. 5 

The paper presented to the CCS warned that, unless visible Allied assistance 
to China was increased, China might make peace with Japan, thus freeing a 
number of Japanese divisions for service elsewhere. Though the United States 
was making some air support available for China, it did not believe that such 
aid, plus the relatively few arms that could be flown into China, was enough 
to keep the Chinese in the war. Current U.S. commitments, together with the 
shipping shortage, made it impossible to send any U.S. ground forces to China. 
The United States, therefore, suggested that the CCS consider the problem of 
retaking Burma in the next dry season, October 1942-May 1943. Perhaps antic- 
ipating that the CCS would adopt the suggestion, the JCS on 19 September 
ordered Stilwell to tell the Generalissimo that the Combined Staff Planners 
were studying operations to retake Burma and to reopen the Burma Road, that 
everything possible was being done to reach a satisfactory solution to the 
problems involved. 6 

3 JCS 28th Mtg, 11 Aug 42, Item 6. 

4 Memo, Handy for Marshall, 14 Aug 42, sub: Three Minimum Reqmts For China Theater 
Submitted by Generalissimo; Memo, Handy for Marshall, 4 Sep 42, sub: Support of China. 
WDCSA (China), A45-466. Stimson approved the basic memorandum on 27 August 1942. 

5 (1) JCS 30th Mtg, 25 Aug 42, Item 7. (2) Item cited n. 3. 

6 (1) CCS 104, 25 Aug 42, sub: Retaking of Burma. (2) CM-OUT 6610, AGWAR to 
Chungking, 19 Sep 42. 



224 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



With Currie's survey of the Chinese situation complete and his report made, 
with better feeling prevailing in Chungking, and with the machinery of the 
CCS about to deal with the strategic problems involved in supporting China, 
the U.S. Government could now prepare its formal answer to the Three 
Demands. 

On 25 September Marshall asked for Stilwell's comments on a preliminary 
draft. Noting Marshall's references to one hundred transports on the Hump, 
to an increase in the emergency air transport program from 3,500 tons to 5,000 
tons a month, and to the omission of American combat troops, Stilwell thought 
that the draft meant "nothing more than at present," substantially, a reaffirma- 
tion of existing commitments. He was not pleased with it: "I suppose I am to 
kid them [the Chinese] into reorganizing the Army." In answering Marshall, 
Stilwell stressed the importance of securing from the Chinese some indication 
of what they proposed to do to carry out the Thirty Division Program. He 
suggested a hint from the President to the Generalissimo that if the Chinese 
did not propose to use American lend-lease there was no point in letting it 
accumulate in India. The rest of Marshall's draft was covered with the terse 
comment that it seemed excellent. 7 

The President's answer to the Three Demands, as modified by the Chinese 
memorandum to Stilwell on 1 August, 8 came during the height of the celebra- 
tion with which the Chinese marked the anniversary of the end of the Manchu 
regime. Stilwell presented the President's message to the Generalissimo on 13 
October. It was "exactly as I had recommended," noted Stilwell. 9 Pleased with 
Currie's report and with the more co-operative attitude of the Generalissimo in 
August, Roosevelt again promised almost 500 aircraft for the China Theater, 
plus 100 aircraft on the Hump in early 1943. He regretted that American 
combat troops could not be supported in CBI, thus rejecting one of the Three 
Demands. 

Telling the Generalissimo that the United States would do its best toward 
creating an American air force and a reorganized Chinese army in India to join 
in reoccupying Burma, the President went on to say that Stilwell's plan for 
retaking Burma was being developed by the JCS. Roosevelt told the General- 
issimo that Burma had to be retaken to open a practical supply route to China, 
because the Hump would never carry enough supplies. The President pointed 
out that because of the limitations of air transport there was little point to 
simply accumulating stockpiles in India that had no early prospect of receipt in 
China, whereas reopening the Burma Road would permit deliveries in quantity. 
Consistent with Currie's advice, the President did not insist that the Chinese 
reform and reorganize their Yunnan forces; however, he did say that if the 

7 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 152. (2) CM-OUT 8582, Marshall to Stilwell, 25 Sep 42. (3) 
CM-IN 12306. Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Sep 42. 

8 Se e|Ch. V.fe ibove. 

9 Stirwell Diary, 13 Oct 42. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



225 



Generalissimo would do it, "it would be of the greatest importance in obtaining 
our mutual objectives." 10 

On 12 October, the same day that the President's reply reached Chungking, 
Stilwell moved to advance the rapprochement with the Chinese one step further 
by submitting his views on China's lend-lease program for the next year. The 
timing may have been a coincidence or it may reflect Stilwell's belief that the 
United States could be more generous, a feeling precipitated into action by the 
terms of the President's 12 October reply. In his message to the War Depart- 
ment, Stilwell asked that the emergency air transport program be continued 
for another year on a scale that would supply equipment for a second thirty 
Chinese divisions. He now contemplated a total of sixty re-equipped Chinese 
divisions. 11 To the Chinese, Stilwell seems to have said nothing about this 
significant expansion of his program. It may be assumed that he was ready to 
introduce the topic of a second thirty divisions at some moment propitious to 
the advancing of his reform program, in accord with his intentions of bargain- 
ing with the Chinese. A week later the War Department told Stilwell that his 
sixty division program would be generally met within the next six months. 12 

The October Negotiations 

Satisfied with the President's answer, the Chinese in effect ordered Stilwell 
to begin negotiations with the American and British Governments on an offen- 
sive to retake Burma. General Shang Chen, the National Military Council's 
liaison with Stilwell, wrote: "My Government would like to know your views 
on the draft plan. If you concur, it is the desire of the Generalissimo that you 
will kindly bring this up with both the American and British Governments. 
As soon as a definite reply is received, please have it submitted to the 
Generalissimo so that final details for the execution of the plan may be drawn 
up." 13 

The Chinese general plan gave four reasons why Burma should be retaken: 

(1) to establish a base from which to start a counteroffensive against Japan; 

(2) to prevent Germany, Italy, and Japan from joining forces in the Middle 
East; (3) to open a line of communications from India to China so that large 
quantities of supplies could be brought into China, "thereby enabling the 

10 (1) Min, Conf, Stilwell and Mme. Chiang, 14 Sep 42, Alexander, recorder. Item 18, Bissell 
Corresp Folder, CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) Assisted by Currie, Marshall had drafted the U.S. reply 
to the Generalissimo's modified demands. On 10 October Roosevelt approved the draft radio. 
Memo, Hopkins for Marshall, 10 Oct 42. WDCSA 381 China (10-2-42), A46-523. (3) Memo, 
Stilwell from Roosevelt for Generalissimo, 12 Oct 42. Item 71, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

11 Stilwell asked that beginning November 1942 the War Department ship to India for airlift to 
China: ordnance to bring China's artillery allocation to 720 37-mm. antitank pieces, 720 75-mm. 
pack howitzers, 360 105-mm. howitzers, 12,000 submachine guns, 13,250 Bren guns, and 
30,000,000 rounds of 7.92-mm. ammunition. CM-IN 5524, Chungking to AGWAR, 12 Oct 42. 

12 CM-OUT 6064, Marshall to Stilwell, 19 Oct 42. 

13 Ltr, FAB/NMC 136, 14 Oct 42, signed Shang Chen, with Incl, sub: Gen Plan For Retaking 
Burma Under Jt Effort of Chinese, British, and American Forces. SNF-84. 



226 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Chinese to complete their plan for a general counteroffensive at an early date"; 
(4) to keep the Japanese too busily occupied to seize the initiative anywhere 
else in the Pacific. 14 

The Chinese proposed to put fifteen to twenty of their divisions into an 
attack from Yunnan, while the United States and Britain put five to seven 
divisions plus paratroops into a frontal attack from India and an amphibious 
operation against Rangoon. The Chinese set certain prerequisites to their par- 
ticipation in the campaign. Their allies were to provide three or four battleships 
and six to eight aircraft carriers, obtain control of the air and dominate the 
China and Java Seas, and attack the Andaman Islands to cover a landing on 
Rangoon. Then the overland advance could begin. In essentials, however, it 
was Stilwell's July plan coming back with the Generalissimo's qualified ap- 
proval, so Stilwell hastened to obey the Generalissimo's order to "bring this 
up with the American and British Governments." 15 Since the President's reply 
made it plain that Stilwell's American superiors were working on his plan, and 
so, by implication, on future orders to him, a trip to India for a conference with 
Wavell was the next order of business. 

The War Department instructions to Stilwell for his talks with Wavell 
were given to him orally by Col. Thomas S. Timberman of OPD, sent to 
Chungking to give Stilwell the War Department point of view. They were: 

a. It is necessary to have Chinese Forces participate with the British in the retaking of 
Burma. 

b. Due to the command problem, that such Chinese Forces as are made available by 
Chiang Kai-shek be integrated in the British undertaking as a separate task force under a 
commander acceptable to the Chinese. 

c. That the Chinese thrust into Burma, supported by the 10th Air Force, be coordinated 
by Stilwell with the British effort. 

d. That the 10th Air Force remain under Stilwell's command and only when, in his 
judgment, the situation warrants, will it be diverted from the support of Chinese Forces. 16 

To the conference table Stilwell brought some tangible assets: the begin- 
nings in India of a Chinese corps trained and equipped to U.S. standard; the 
nascent Tenth Air Force; 17 and the Generalissimo's willingness to join in 
operations to break the blockade of China. 

On 17, 18, and 19 October Wavell and Stilwell met in New Delhi, together 
with Gen. Sir Alan Hartley, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, India; Air Chief 
Marshal Sir Richard Peirse, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces, 
India; General Bissell; and Colonel Ferris. The first two conferences were not 
satisfactory from Stilwell's point of view. Wavell objected to any increase in 
the number of Chinese trained in and based on India. He also mentioned a 

14 Ibid. 

15 See Chapter V|page 179 J above for Stilwell's July 18th proposal. 

16 (1) Memo, Handy tor Marshall, 1 Oct 42. sub: Burma Opns. WDCSA 381 China 
(10-1-42), A46-523. (2) Stilwell Diary, 18 Oct 42. 

17 See Ch. VI, pp | 198-2MI 212-2ti.| above. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



227 



number of logistical difficulties to support his view that any Burma operations 
should be on the most modest scale. 18 

From Wavell, Stilwell received the first description of British plans for 
Burma which had been extended to him to date: 

General Wavell explained that he had been planning the re-conquest of Burma ever since 
the withdrawal of the Army at the end of April. 

He had originally intended to start operations at the beginning of October but his plans 
had been upset and retarded by many factors. The chief of these was the low capacity of the 
railway and river communications to Assam, which had been further accentuated by ineffi- 
cient working and by breaks in the system due to monsoon conditions. There had also been 
a very high rate of sickness amongst the troops, due principally to malaria. In addition 
aircraft, troops and equipment intended for India had been diverted in large quantities to the 
Middle East. . . . For administrative reasons any advance in force against Northern Burma 
could not start before March 1st. 

He hoped however to advance at an earlier date in the South down the Arakan Coast and 
he was planning a small combined operation for the capture of Akyab. A decision with 
regard to the latter had not yet been taken. 

An advance on March 1st left only 2Vi months campaigning weather [before the mon- 
soon rains] and even if he managed to get two Divisions to the MANDALAY area it would 
not be possible ... to maintain them there. He did not want to be forced to withdraw from 
Burma a second time. He had therefore issued instructions for the initial objective of the 
Eastern Army to be Northern ARAKAN, the CHIN Hills, and the Upper CHINDWTN. 
He fully intended however to advance further East should it be possible to do so. 19 

Wavell 's goal was not the seizure of Rangoon at which Stilwell aimed, but 
his plan could well serve as the first phase of a larger operation directed toward 
Rangoon. 

On the last day of the conferences, Wavell's attitude changed. From Wash- 
ington, Marshall and Dill of the British Joint Staff Mission to Washington had 
successfully urged the British War Cabinet to direct the Government of India's 
approval of a sharp increase in the number of Chinese troops in India. 20 This 
action was promptly reflected in Wavell's attitude and improved the chances 
for a successful outcome of a limited campaign to retake north Burma. There- 
fore, when Stilwell produced the Chinese general plan for retaking all Burma 
and opening the port of Rangoon, Wavell gave his "general agreement with it 
as a basis for planning." 21 Wavell noted again the obstacles to operations in 
Burma, such as the difficulty of gaining the air superiority needed, and 

18 (1) CM-IN 07342, Stilwell to Marshall, 17 Oct 42. (2) CM-IN 08124, Stilwell to Marshall, 
18 Oct 42. (3) Rad from Wavell, 28 Oct 42, Tab A, JCS 40th Mtg, 3 Nov 42. ABC 384 (Burma), 
6-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224. (4) Wavell Despatch, March 1942 to December 31, 1942, Supplement 
to The London Gazette. (5) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 163-64. 

19 (1) Notes, Conf at GHQ, New Delhi, 18, 19 Oct 42, Wavell and Stilwell. Stilwell Docu- 
ments, Hoover Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pages 162-63, suggest that the Notes actually refer 
to the session on 19 October. 

20 (1) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 6 Oct 42. WDCSA 381 China (10-6-42), A46-523. (2) 
CM-IN 04048, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Oct 42. (3) Memo, Marshall for Roosevelt, 10 Oct 42; 
Ltrs, Dill to Marshall, 13, 19 Oct 42. WDCSA 381 China, A46-523. 

21 (1) Notes cited n. 19(1). (2) CM-IN 11578, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Oct 42. (3) The 
Stilwell Papers, p. 164. 



228 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



remarked that the date for "major operations" would have to be indefinite for 
the moment, but he agreed with Stilwell "that the plans already made by the 
Commander-in-Chief India and the memorandum from the Generalissimo 
should form the basis of future planning." 22 Planning between the British and 
American staffs in India began forthwith, both for the limited operation in 
north Burma, which could be the first step toward retaking all Burma, and for 
operations to reopen Rangoon. 

General Headquarters (India) promptly invited the American forces to send 
representatives to sit on a combined planning staff. SOS and Headquarters, 
Tenth Air Force, each sent an officer, while Lt. Col. Frank D. Merrill repre- 
sented Stil well's headquarters. The first meeting on 22 October formed two 
subcommittees to examine the problems of moving the two Ramgarh divisions 
to Ledo, from whence they might move into north Burma, and of maintaining 
them once they were there. 23 

Because of the limitations of the Assam line of communications and the 
many demands on it, moving the Chinese from Ramgarh to Ledo was far from 
routine, and many conferences were held on the problem in the next few days. 
One combined planning session feared nine weeks might be needed for the 
move, and there was also the problem of stocking the 45-day supply level that 
was needed at Ledo. 24 

It was also necessary to fix Anglo-American responsibilities in filling gaps 
in the equipment of the two Chinese divisions. It was agreed that the United 
States would assume responsibility for movement of supplies from railhead to 
roadhead and that 200 tons a day would be needed for a Chinese corps and 800 
trucks to support two divisions over a 350-mile line of communications. The 
British very presciently suggested that air supply be investigated. 

Summing up the conference on 26 October, Colonel Merrill told Stilwell 
that the British had offered 500 trucks and many pieces of medium artillery. 
They were also procuring animals for five battalions of pack artillery. The move 
forward could start about 1 February 1943. There were two major questions 
left to be settled between Stilwell and Wavell: what sector was to be given the 
Chinese Army in India, and what was its mission? 25 

The Anglo-American staff conferences had postulated Ledo as the base for 
StilwelPs Chinese Army in India and Myitkyina as its goal but, as seen by 
Merrill's remark, the point had not been settled. In his 29 July proposal to 
the Generalissimo, Stilwell proposed that the Chinese Army in India advance 

22 Notes cited |n. 19(7)1 

23 Ltr, Lt Col rranK jvinani, Asst AG, Br Office, for Stilwell, to Wheeler, Bissell, Merrill, 21 
Oct 42, sub: Jt Planning. SNF-60. The CBI usage of joint for combined was late in being abandoned. 

24 Min, Conf, 24 Oct 42, sub: Quartermaster Problems Arising Out of Move of Chinese Corps 
from Ramgarh to Ledo Area. SNJ?-6£L 

25 Min, Second Mtg, Jt British and American. Stf Com, 26 Oct 42; Summary of Confs r Merrill, 
recorder, SNF-60. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



229 



into Burma from Imphal via Tamu and Kalewa. 26 Therefore, when he met 
with Wavell on 27 October, Stilwell suggested that sector for the Chinese. 
Wavell refused, saying the Manipur Road from the Bengal and Assam Rail- 
way to Imphal could not support both the Chinese and the British and 
assigned the Hukawng Valley of north Burma to Stilwell. That done, the two 
commanders agreed Stilwell's mission should be to occupy the area Myitkyina- 
Bhamo to obtain use of the Myitkyina airfield and make contact with Chinese 
advancing from Yunnan. Since the Chinese were to be based on Ledo and 
advance down the Hukawng Valley, it was agreed that the Americans should 
assume responsibility for building the road from Ledo down the Hukawng and 
Mogaung Valleys to Myitkyina, eventually to link with the Burma Road. 
Stilwell's contemporary papers do not discuss the project, suggesting that his 
interest was slight and that building the Ledo Road was assumed as an added 
responsibility coming from the action by Wavell, who was Supreme Com- 
mander, India, in assigning north Burma as Stilwell's sector. 27 Stilwell's 
solution to China's problem of supply, as he had told the Generalissimo on 29 
July, was to reopen Rangoon. 

The Generalissimo Will Be Ready 

Returning to Chungking with the results of his conferences with Wavell 
and India Command, Stilwell found he had an unexpected ally, China's Foreign 
Minister, Dr. Soong. Before his departure from Washington for Chungking 
on 10 October, Soong had had long, frank talks with Marshall and Stimson. 
Stimson chose to paraphrase a letter Marshall was planning to send the Presi- 
dent and spelled out the Marshall-Stimson thesis for the Chinese diplomat. 
The situation in Burma, said Stimson, was a tangled one which required zeal 
and co-operation to prevent misunderstanding. The solution to the problem 
of mutual co-operation between the three powers required action to open a 
ground line of communications over which supplies might be moved to China. 
To open that line of communications required military action. As Soong had 
remarked, the British and Chinese did not get on well together, hence U.S. 
action was important and necessary. This meant any American representative 
had to be a fighting military leader, not just a smooth and diplomatic type of 
person. Stimson asked Soong to tell the Generalissimo, in homely phrase: "It 
was a situation in which pepper was required more than molasses." 28 

The Chinese Foreign Minister laughed and said he understood. He assured 
Stimson he was anxious to "promote harmony" and asked Stimson to assure 
Stilwell that such was Soong's only purpose. Soong also spoke to Marshall, 

26 See Ch. V, pp. 1 18 1-82 J above. 

27 Ltr, Stilwell to Wavell, 8 Nov 42, again stressing that Stilwell had been "assigned" the 
Hukawng Valley; Min, Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 3 Nov 42; Notes, Conf, Wavell and Stil- 
well, 27 Oct 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

28 Memo of talk with Soong, 12 Oct 42. Stimson Papers. (See Bibliographical Note.) 



230 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



who stressed the same points. 29 After Soong's return to Chungking, Stilwell 
found an unprecedented atmosphere of co-operation and the Foreign Minister 
took Stilwell aside and reaffirmed his desire to aid. During the winter of 1942- 
43 Stilwell worked closely with Soong. 30 

This co-operation from Soong was most welcome to Stilwell, who after the 
Three Demands crisis was much concerned with the problem of finding some- 
one in authority with whom he might work. During the First Burma Cam- 
paign the Generalissimo had sent letter after letter to Stilwell. There were no 
letters after the campaign, and, as noted, very few of Stilwell's memoranda 
received any answer. Then came the Three Demands crisis, with its clear indi- 
cation that the Generalissimo would like to see Stilwell recalled. After the 
crisis, and until Stilwell left China, conferences between them were few and 
confined to the business at hand. Memorandums from Stilwell to the General- 
issimo were rarely if ever answered, and the Generalissimo did not trouble to 
address Stilwell on his own initiative. 31 

Therefore, Stilwell sought someone who could play the classic Chinese role 
of go-between and possibly exercise considerable independent power in the 
loose- jointed Chungking government. First he thought he had found such a one 
in General Ho, then in Foreign Minister Soong, and then in the women of the 
Soong family. So on 28 September Stilwell wrote: "Saw Shang Chen about 
going to Ho on 30-Div Plan. 'Go-ahead' he says. Encouraging attitude. So 
J. Liu and I went over at 2.30 and saw him. 'Ch'ing Chiao, etc' He heard the 
story and made notes. Very pleasant and when we left he said: 'Come over and 
talk whenever you have any questions and we can settle everything quickly right 
here.' . . . Can it be possible? Maybe this is the way to do it." [Stilwell's 
italics] 32 

Then Soong came back; the Generalissimo authorized him to help co-ordi- 
nate preparations, and Stilwell wrote: "Talk with T. V. [Soong] on general 
lines. He seems Christianized (watch and lighter presents) . Promises all possible 
help. To replace Madame in dealing with Gmo." 33 

When Doctor Soong arrived in China, and was authorized by the Generalissimo to help 
co-ordinate preparations, I told General Ho Ying-chin that I was conferring with him; and 
that I trusted that General Ho would understand that there were matters outside the strictly 
military sphere, which I would have to handle with Doctor Soong; that I did not wish to 
appear to be avoiding or ignoring any recognized Chinese authority; that it would be easier 

29 Memo, Marshall for President, 5 Nov 42. WDCSA 381 China (1 1-5-42), A46-523. 

30 (1) Folder, Ltrs and Memos, Stilwell to Soong, 1942-43, Stilwell Documents, Hoover 
Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 166-67. (3) Ltr, Stilwell to Marshall. Bk 6, OPD Exec 8. 
Colonel Timberman hand carried this letter to General Marshall in November. 

31 "To ignore your chief of staff completely [may] be good practice, but I doubt it. Over 
a period of a year and a half, I submitted memos and studies on various subjects to him. He never 
deigned to discuss any of them. It was impossible to argue with him. He would simply pass down 
the decision— always 'No.' And that ended it." The Stilwell Papers, pp. 221-22. 

32 Stilwell Diary, 28 Sep 42. 

33 Stilwell B&W, 5 Nov 42. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



231 



for me to deal with one agency only; but that I realized conditions required this procedure 
if the best progress was to be made, and that I would keep him informed of anything I did 
that had a bearing on military affairs. 34 

Stilwell addressed himself to the task immediately before him and laid the 
results of his conferences in India before the Generalissimo, Madame Chiang, 
and Soong, on 3 November 1942, together with a description of the prepara- 
tions the Chinese would have to make if their share in the Burma campaign 
was to be a success. The difficulties of the campaign were candidly outlined. 
Wavell's plans for a limited offensive were presented as they had been given to 
Stilwell, and Stilwell warned that Wavell was not committed to an amphibious 
attack on Rangoon that was "being studied." Then, to forestall any attempt to 
place General Lo's headquarters in command of the offensive down the 
Hukawng Valley, Stilwell listed the logistical arrangements to be made in India. 
These ran from "a. Organization of a base at Ledo . . ."to "n. Arrangements 
with the railway authorities. . . ." In responding the Generalissimo said: "As 
to General Wavell's inquiry about the size of the Chinese force to be placed in 
the field for the operation, please inform him that I will employ 15 divisions 
from the Yunnan side exclusive of the troops to be used against the enemy in 
Indo-China, aside from the two Chinese divisions in India, and that these 
troops will be ready for operations before the end of February 1943." Since the 
Generalissimo was Supreme Commander, China Theater, the readiness of these 
troops would be his responsibility. To this promise the Generalissimo attached 
but one condition — Allied sea and air forces must be present in strength to 
dominate the Bay of Bengal and prevent the Japanese from reinforcing through 
Rangoon. 35 

In the discussion which followed, Stilwell told the Chinese leaders that the 
Hukawng Valley was very difficult terrain but that he had not been able to get 
another sector; that British command would be nominal; and that massive air 
and naval support might not be forthcoming. The Chinese made their desire 
for Allied naval control of the Bay of Bengal very clear, and Stilwell promised 
his best offices. It was agreed by Stilwell and the Generalissimo that it would 
be diplomatically inexpedient for the Generalissimo to be commander in chief 
of an Allied effort in Burma. The question of which Chinese officer would com- 
mand the Chinese forces advancing from Yunnan was left open, but the Chinese 
Army in India was placed under Stilwell's command for Burma operations. 36 

Stilwell promptly informed Wavell of the substance of the conference with 
the Generalissimo, stressing his intention to proceed on the assumption that 
the Generalissimo's requirement of Allied naval and air dominance of the Bay 
of Bengal would be met. Wavell's reply repeated the essence of Stilwell's 

34 Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 23 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 
3 * Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 3 Nov 42. Stilwell Documents, 
Hoover Library. 

36 (1) Ibid. (2) CM-IN 1965, Stilwell to Marshall, 5 Nov 42. 



232 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



remarks on the relation of air and sea power to the projected operation, and in 
effect the commanders were pledged to make detailed plans, begin preparations, 
and take the actual decision later. The code name of this operation to retake all 
of Burma was Anakim. The limited operation in north Burma took the name 
of Ravenous. 37 

"How was it all done?" asked Stilwell. 

I got the G-mo to see it was necessary. Got his O. K. on the big SW Pacific scheme- 
ostensibly proposed by himself. In this he promised to use 15 to 20 divisions. This forced 
Wa veil's hand and made him agree in principle to an offensive. Then Washington put on 
some heat, and the Chinese had to make a plan. This committed CKS, irrespective of the 
bigger concept. I got WavelPs plan and put it up to CKS. He agreed if reasonably sure of 
naval and air superiority. Then the North African affair began to go well, and we could look 
for naval and air reinforcements. Then Soong came in and grabbed my stuff. He evidently 
told CKS what the U.S. attitude would be if the Chinese didn't go to bat, so CKS gives the 
Chun Lung Pu the word, and they come with the stuff I have been pushing at them since 
last June. It looks as if they knew I was getting my way, and they have decided to go along. 
If I could have seen this far ahead last spring, I would have had more sleep. 38 

Japanese Plans and Dispositions in Burma 

While Stilwell, Wavell, their superiors, and the Generalissimo were weigh- 
ing the situation caused by the Japanese conquest of Burma, the Japanese 
themselves were wondering whether to exploit their successes or to remain on 
the defensive. Their intentions, their strength, and their dispositions are the 
background to what the British, Chinese, and Americans contemplated doing 
in Burma. 

Their smashing victory in Burma exhausted the body of prewar planning 
that had brought such brilliant successes to the Japanese. Even before the end 
of the campaign, 15 th Army was studying plans for an advance into India, but 
the necessary troops were not available and overland communications did not 
seem able to support an offensive. 39 The first directive from Imperial Head- 
quarters to Southern Army, under which the 15 th Army operated, was dated 27 
June 1942. Southern Army was ordered to stabilize its area and make it self- 
supporting. Pressure against the Chinese Nationalists was to be maintained 
from Burma, French Indochina, and Thailand. Offensive air operations against 
China and India could be carried out at the discretion of Southern Army, but 
while Southern Army was to prepare to eliminate strong points on its boundaries, 
it was not to undertake operations into India and China without specific orders. 
On 22 August, Imperial Headquarters took a more aggressive attitude, approved 
the suggestions of a Lt. Col. Hayashi on the.Southern Army staff, and ordered 

37 Ltr, Stilwell to Wavell, 8 Nov 42; Ltr, Wavell to Stilwell, 16 Nov 42. SNF-46. 

38 This passage completes Stilwell's essay on page 168 of The Stilwell Papers. Stilwell Undated 
Paper. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

39 Japanese Study 88. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



233 



Southern Army to prepare to occupy northeast Assam, the Chittagong area, and 
cut the air supply line to China. 40 

In compliance, 15 th Army produced Plan of Operation 21 in September 
1942, which called for the 33d Division and part of the 55th Division to advance 
to the line Silchar-Dimapur in Assam. A portion of the 18th Division following 
them would leapfrog and advance to Golaghat. The rest of the 18th Division 
would advance up the Hukawng Valley to Ledo, then swing west to Tinsukia, 
forming the right prong of a double encirclement. The airline to China would 
thus be effectively destroyed. Operation 21 was objected to by the commanders 
of the divisions concerned, Lt. Gen. Renya Mutaguchi and Lt. Gen. Shozo 
Sakurai, because of the geographic and logistical obstacles. Their views pre- 
vailed and the scheme was dropped on 23 December 1942. For the time being, 
the Japanese stood on the defensive in Burma. 41 The American operations in 
the Solomons seem not to have determined this attitude, for later events make 
clear the principal reason for the Japanese decision— the belief that it was 
impossible even for them to conduct a campaign across the Chin Hills. 

In June 1942 Imperial Headquarters ordered Southern Army to build a rail line 
connecting the Burmese and Thai rail systems in order to reduce the strain on 
Japanese shipping space caused by the long haul around Malaya and to meet 
the needs of the 15th Army which would be greatly increased by a build-up to 
meet any Allied counteroffensive or to invade India. Japanese engineers lacked 
road-building equipment, but one asset they had on which they might freely 
draw— an asset expendable and replaceable at will— the miserable Allied 
prisoners of war taken in Southeast Asia, and the coolies the Japanese had come 
to "liberate." Without medical care, without even the bare minimum of food 
and shelter, with the simplest and most primitive of tools, a total of 61,806 
Allied prisoners of war and 269,9^8 coolies were driven into the steaming 
jungles of Thailand and Burma to hack a railway across the Dawna Range. 
From both sides of the hills the road began to go through the jungles, and the 
men began to die. Some died of sheer exhaustion, some of hunger, some of 
dysentery, some of cholera, some of malaria, many of combinations of all. The 
Japanese drove their prisoners forth in the morning, gibed at their sufferings, 
and rolled the dead into a ditch. These arrangements placed the very minimum 
of burden on the Japanese supply lines, and the tracks crept across the hills as 
more and more prisoners and coolies were fed into the jungle. For every mile 
completed, 325 men died. 42 

40 (1) Imperial General Headquarters Army Order 650, 27 Jun 42, with Apps. I and II, Pt. V, 
SEATIC Sp Int Bull, 1946, p. 9. MID Library. This order also in GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil Hist 
Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army Orders, Vol. II. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Imperial General 
Headquarters Army Order, 22 Aug 42, to Southern Army, SEATIC Sp Int Bull, 1946, p. 18; SEATIC 
Hist Bull 240, 9 Jul 46. MID Library. 

41 (1) Japanese Study 89- (2) SEATIC Hist Bull 240, 9 Jul 46. MID Library. (3) Imperial 
General Headquarters Army Directive 1381, 23 Dec 42, GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil Hist Div, 
Imperial General Headquarters Army Directives, Vol. II. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

42 SEATIC Bull 246, 8 Oct 46, App. B, sub: Burma-Siam Ry, pp. 17-18. MID Library. 



234 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The four Japanese divisions that conquered Burma spent the rainy season 
resting and refitting. Defensive sectors were assigned as follows: 

56th Division— -Yunnan (Lt. Gen. Sukezo Matsuyama) 
18th Division— northwestern Burma (Lt. Gen. Renya Mutaguchi) 
33d Division— the Arakan (Lt. Gen. Genzo Yanagida) 
55th Division— southwestern coastal area of Burma (Lt. Gen. Ken Kokan) 

Forward areas were occupied with a minimum of personnel, and the bulk of the 
men went back to more healthful areas in Yunnan, the Shan States, and around 
Pegu and Toungoo to rest, retrain, and re-equip. On 1 December movement 
back into position began, to be completed by 1 January 1943- The line to be 
held went through Tengchung, Myitkyina, Kamaing, Kalewa, and Akyab, 
which left the Hukawng Valley and most of the Mogaung valley — the trace 
of the road from Ledo— as a sort of no man's land, crossed only by wandering 
patrols. 43 

Preparations in China for the Offensive 

Preparations for a Chinese advance from Yunnan into Burma may be said 
to have begun with the Generalissimo's statement of 1 August that the Chinese 
could provide twenty divisions with appropriate artillery. 44 In the days follow- 
ing, the Chinese order of battle and strategic concepts had been disclosed to 
the Americans, and some troops began moving toward Yunnan. With the 
Generalissimo's statement of 3 November that fifteen Chinese divisions would 
drive from Yunnan as authority, Stilwell sought to persuade the Chinese into 
preparing a second Chinese Expeditionary Force. There were three problems: 
(1) the detail of efficient Chinese commanders; (2) the reorganization and 
re-equipment of the participating units; and (3) logistic support of the offen- 
sive. Stilwell did not approach his problems in that order. The realities of army 
politics in China demanded that he have something concrete to show any senior 
Chinese officer who might be asked to assume command of the Yunnan force, 
or Y-Force, as it was called thereafter. 45 

There were very considerable ordnance stocks in China. Talking to Currie 
on 31 July 1942, China's Chief of Ordnance, Gen. Yu Ta-wei, said the Chinese 
had 1,000,000 rifles, 66,000 light machine guns, 17,000 heavy machine guns, 
1,000 antitank guns, 1,000 75-mm. guns and howitzers, 91 105-mm. howitzers, 
60 6-in. howitzers, and 8,200 trench mortars. There were 250,000,000 rounds of 
small arms ammunition, more or less. The Chinese figures cannot be taken at 
face value. Thus, some weeks before, General Yu told an American lend-lease 
official that the Chinese had 1,700,000 rifles, while in December 1941 

43 (1) SEATIC Bull 246, 8 Oct 46, App. B, sub: Burma-Siam Ry. MID Library. (2) Japanese 
Study 89. , , 

44 See Ch. V, pp 181-82, above. 

45 (1) CM-IN 5 1/6, Shi well to Marshall, 12 Nov 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, page 191, gives 
Stilwell 's appreciation of the politics involved. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



235 



AMMISCA had used the 2,000,000 figure. 46 Moreover, more detailed surveys 
of unknown origin in CBI Theater files, though agreeing rather closely with 
General Yu as to over-all totals, suggest that 25 percent of his artillery was 
obsolete and certainly some of it was in very bad repair. 47 But there was enough 
Chinese ordnance on hand, as StilwelPs artillery officer, Colonel Dorn, wrote 
General Handy of OPD, to build up the Thirty Divisions to a very respectable 
scale: 

The 30 Division Plan is sound and feasible; and the Chinese have ample equipment in 
China today to build up such a force. Instead they scream for planes, disregarding the fact 
that they have fuel and bombs for no more than a reasonably small force. 48 

Stilwell's task was to persuade the Chinese to assemble an appropriate 
amount of this equipment in Yunnan and to assign it to a group of divisions 
that had been brought up to strength and purged of inefficient commanders. 
Transportation and repair problems plus the ammunition shortage would leave 
gaps in the Chinese armory, and these lend-lease would fill as the transports 
flew in supplies. 

In March 1942 the National Military Council proposed a Table of Organiza- 
tion and Equipment for the Thirty Divisions. This was accepted as a basis for 
discussion, and since August Stilwell's staff and the Chinese had worked on 
their tables. By November these were in fairly complete form and reflected both 
the needs of the Chinese and the capabilities of air transport. (Chart\3\ind 4) 
The tables also reflected StilwelPs long study of the Chinese Army anarevealecl 
his desire to increase the base of fire and give added mobility to the maneuvering 
element of the Chinese regiments and divisions. Fitting the existing Chinese 
divisions to this pattern revealed at once what reorganization would have to be 
done and what would have to be flown into China before the Chinese could 
cross the Salween River into Burma with a fair prospect of success. The next 
step was to translate th e results of this exami nation into requisitions and steps 
toward reorganization. \ Table 3 and Chart 5)\ 49 



46 (1) Memo by J. Franklin Ray, Jr., 9 Aug 42, sub: Notes, Conf, Currie and Yu Ta-wei, 
Chungking, 31 Jul 42. SNF-159. (2) Ltr, Maj Gen Kiang Piao, CDS Ordnance Off, Washington, 
to Coljohn B. Franks, Actg Dir, Def Aid Div, 29 Aug 42. Folder, 7.92-mm. Ammunition, ASF 
(DAD) ID, A46-299. The Chinese rifles and machine guns were 7.92-mm. 

47 In SNF-159 an otherwise unidentified table, dated 12 August 1942, lists: 750 modern anti- 
tank guns and 251 obsolete, 274 obsolete pieces of pack artillery, 176 obsolete field guns, etc. (2) 
In SNF-15 an undated, but detailed, survey gives 1,000,000 rifles, 62,000 light machine guns, 
16,000 heavy machine guns, 7,800 trench mortars, 593 modern antitank guns of 37-mm. caliber 
and larger, 417 modern pack howitzers, and 211 antiaircraft guns of all sizes. If the obsolete pieces 
are included, the figures in this survey tally closely with those Yu gave Currie. 

48 Ltr, Dorn to Handy, 4 Aug 42. OPD 381 CTO, Sec 3, A47-30. 

49 Stilwell's total lend-lease stockpile during 1942 consisted of the 3,500-ton emergency air 
transport program, some British reverse lend-lease to China, and the stockpile gathered in India 
after the fall of Rangoon. The U.S. contribution to the Chinese Tables of Organization and Equip- 
ment was to come largely from the s ix months' 3,500-ton program, or a total of 21,000 tons for 
thirty divisions. See Chapter V I napes 1 60-61 1 above, for the Munitions Assignments Board's 
decision on the 3,500-ton program. 



Chart 3 — Organization of Chinese Infantry Regiment: 1942 



Special 
Service 
Platoon 
(1 OFf-68 EM) 



1st Battalion 
(26 Off-627 EM) 



I 



Regimental 
Headquarters 
(17 Off-SB EM) 



Communications 

Platoon 
(2 Off-77 EM) 



2d Battalion 
(26 Off-627 EM) 



3d Battalion 
(26 Off-627 EM) 



Rifle 
Company 




Rifle 
Company 




Rifle 
Company 










I 






I 


Platoon 
(3 Section*) 





Platoon 
(3 Sections) 

, 




Platoon 
(3 Sections) 



Heavy 
Machine Gun 
Company 

T 



82-mm 
Trench Mortar 
Platoon 




1 Approved Table of Organization, but nut in effect in Chinese Army. 
Source: MA Rpt (China) 61, 12 Mar 42. MID Library, 



Chart 4— Stil well's Proposed Reorganization of Chinese Infantry 

Regiment: 1942 



Communications 

Platoon 
(2 Off-77 EM) 



Rifle 



1 



Platoon 
(3 Sections) 



Special Service 

Platoon 
(1 Off-68 EM) 



1st Battalion 
(30 Off-750 EM) 



m Regimental - 
Headquarters 
(17 0rt-28 EM) 










(30 Off- 


ttalion 
750 EM) 



82-mm 
Trench Mortar 
Company 

[5 Off-178 EM) 




[ 



3d Battalion 
(30 Off-750 EM) 



Communications 
Section 



Supply 
Section 



Antitank 
Squad 



Rifle 
Company 



T 



Rifle 
Company 



I— 





Heavy 




Machine Gun 




Company 



Platoon 

(3 Sections) 



1 



Platoon 
(3 Sections) 



60-mmTrench 
Mortar 
Section 



I 



Platoon 



Platoon 



Platoon 



Sourer AG (Y-FOS) 320.3, HQ. Y-Force Operations Staff, CHI, KCRC 



238 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Table J-Incikam in Periqnn bi. ant Eouipmbkt Utftm. P.owmed Reo.o a n nation or Cmwmb 

In fanti Y Rroimb^t 1942 



Personnel and Bquij>me(i» 



Officers* . 

Enlisted Men 

Horses and Mules 

Pistols, SniB.ll ..................... 

Pistols, Urge «.. 

Rifles, .,...,,,...,,,.,..,„ » . ............ . . . . . ... 

Thompson Submachine Guns, .45 caliber 

Machine Guns, Light „, 

Machine Guns, Heavy . . 

Grenade Dischargers iii. ■>.*■. ■!> ........... . 

Trench Mortars, 6omm. ................ 

Trench Morurs, 82mm » 

Boys Antitank Rjfl«, 55 caliber 

Bren Guns, .303 caliber • ■ • ■ • 



1942 



98 
2,054 
147 
93 
206 
953 

54 
18 
54 

6 





Duha.aJ <1 — t i.l 



127 
2,865 
441 
139 
283 
1,097 
90 
81 

11 

27 
6 
6 
9 



29.6 
39.5 
200.0 
49.5 
37.4 
15.1 

50.6 

m i ■ + t « * a « 

0.0 

......... 

i<>i>,iih 



* Virtually »U incrci.r in equipment w»» to hi« been .uppW through lucMeatc from the J.50O too 
emtrjfencr Uf ennspon prog rim, 

„ (J) M» Rp, (Chi«> «l, 13 Mar 42, MIDlibrur. 

Stiff. CBt, KCRC. 



Chart 5- Lend- Lease Contribution to Reorganized Chinese 

Regiments: 1942 




Swrw: Table V 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



239 



On 7 November Foreign Minister Soong himself mentioned the need of 
reorganizing the Chinese SOS to support the projected 1943 spring campaign 
and approved StilwelPs prompt suggestion that Wheeler fly from India to 
advise on supply matters. 50 Remembering how General Yu Fei-peng had vexed 
him in the First Burma Campaign, Stilwell asked to have him removed from 
any supply responsibility in Yunnan. Thanks to Soong, Yu's removal was 
shortly promised. 51 When Wheeler arrived, Stilwell introduced him to some of 
the key Chinese military personnel, and then Wheeler began his survey. Stilwell 
wrote, "With Wheeler to see [Generals] Liu Fei and Ch'en. General walla 
walla [general discussion]. Told them a few things about getting down to cases. 
Apparently, preparations are actually under way. Imagine! for a Chinese 
offensive— Saw T. V. [Soong] and gave him a memo on essentials to be done 
now." 52 

In his memorandum Stilwell told Soong that a commander should at once 
be chosen for the Y-Force, that units to participate should be named, that re- 
organization of these units should begin, that the 269 75-mm. guns available 
should begin the trip to Yunnan, and that incompetent commanders should 
be removed. His paper devoted equal space to supply matters. Soong read that 
an efficient officer should head the Y- Force SOS; that, "transport being the 
basis of supply," this service should be reorganized at once and the lines of 
communications repaired; that supply depots should be established and move- 
ment forward to the Salween front of sixty days' supplies be initiated at once; 
that a medical evacuation service should be started; and that "the gasoline, 
weapons, ammunition, trucks, etc. that are stored away in varying amounts in 
the hands of individuals and organizations should be called for and produced, 
under serious penalties for retention." 53 

Wheeler discussed the supply situation at length with his Chinese counter- 
parts—the ordnance, quartermaster, medical, signal, motor transport, engineer, 
traffic control, and "road improvement" officials. These Chinese asked only 
enough "to make a fight of it." Their requirements for the initial operations 
added up to 4,299 tons of air cargo to be flown from India. 54 

Flying 4,300 tons to Y-Force would drastically reduce the tonnage available 

50 (1) Stilwell B&W, 7 Nov 42. (2) Rad T-114, Stilwell to Wheeler, 7 Nov 42. Item 92, Bk 1, 
JWS Personal File. 

51 (1) Stilwell Diary, 18 Nov 42. (2) CM-IN 5176, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Nov 42. Periodi- 
cally, Stilwell kept Marshall informed of his talks with Soong. The War Department thereby was 
quite close to his day-by-day progress on the Y-Force. 

52 Stilwell Diary, 21 Nov 42. 

53 Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 12 Nov 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

54 (1) CM-IN 12216, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Nov 42. (2) Memo, Wheeler for Stilwell, 28 
Nov 42, sub: Chinese SOS. SNF-55. Wheeler breaks down the ammunition to 15,000,000 rounds 
of 7.92-mm. and 30,000 rounds of artillery. Quartermaster items included raincoats, mosquito bars, 
tennis shoes, blankets, and tents. (3) Complete stockpile details on Y- Force's lend-lease build-up 
are in Yoke Reports, prepared by Eastern Section, SOS, under the direction of Colonel Kohloss. 
Yoke Reports 1 (13 Dec 42), 6 (7 Feb 43), 16 (18 Apr 43), 20 (1 May 43), 37 (10 Jul 43), and 
49 (11 Aug 43) give the status of Y-Force lend-lease stockpiles. G-4, Y-FOS, KCRC. (4) Rpt, 
Hq Eastern Sec, USAF SOS CBI, 13 Dec 42, sub: Initial Status Rpt of Yoke Force. G-4, Y-FOS, 
KCRC. 



240 STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 

Quartermaster supplies 2 ,797 tons (mostly motor gas to bring sup- 
plies up). 

Ordnance supplies 1,100 tons (7.92-mm. and 75-mm. ammuni- 
tion) . 

Signal supplies 372 tons. 

Medical supplies 30 tons. 



4,299 tons. 

to Chennault's air task force; Chennault protested as soon as word reached him 
in Kunming." 

The allocation of tonnage posed a fundamental issue. Unless Stilwell could 
divide Hump tonnage between the Chinese Army and Chennault according to 
strategic needs as the situation demanded, his influence on Anakim would be 
limited to what he could persuade the Chinese to do by the devices of rhetoric 
and the force of personality. In November 1942 Stilwell, as he told Soong, 
expected soon to have one hundred transports on the Hump and looked 
forward to the increasing efficiency of the airline. These factors would make 
possible a tonnage allocation in quantities more nearly satisfactory both to 
Chennault and to Y-Force. 

Concentrating Chinese divisions loyal to the Generalissimo in Yunnan 
Province affected the whole structure of Chinese domestic politics. The 
Governor of Yunnan had to be placated by Soong, while a number of the key 
war area commanders convened at Chungking to discuss the projected opera- 
tion and their contribution to it. Perhaps ominously, Soong warned Stilwell 
not to press the Generalissimo too hard with his reforms and urged him to 
establish cordial relations with Gen. Chen Cheng (VI War Area, and a potential 
Y-Force commander), Lt. Gen. Hsueh Yueh (IX War Area), and Lt. Gen. Hu 
Tsung-nan (I War Area). These powerful satraps, who controlled the territory 
between Sian and Changsha, would by their attitude largely determine the 
resources that the Generalissimo would feel able to commit to Yunnan. But 
Stilwell had to assume the Generalissimo would be strong enough to keep 
them obedient. 56 

So, looking about him, Stilwell wrote: 

We're rolling. Yu Fei-peng is out of the picture. The new [supply] man is Ch'en Chin 
Chieh. Cantonese. 45. Originally 4th Army. Shanghai experience. Chang Fa Kwei's [IV War 

55 (1) In Way of a Fighter, page 204, Chennault writes that on 20 January 1943 Stilwell cut him 
to 700 gallons of gasoline a day to stockpile supplies for Y-Force. (2) Ltr, Col Clinton D. Vincent, 
Executive Off, CATF, to Chennault, 22 Jan 43. Replying to Chennault's oral orders, Vincent as- 
sumes two cases, A and B. Under A, the worse case, the China Air Task Force would receive 900 
gallons of gasoline a day which would allow it only defensive action at Kunming and Chanyi, and 
a precarious defense at that. ( 3 ) Ltr, Chennault to Lt Gen Albert C. Wedemeyer, CG, USF China 
Theater, 6 Jul 45. WDCSA 091 China, 15 Aug 45. Col Vincent's Memo is Item 3, Incl II. 

,6 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 157, 169-70, 173. (2) Every fall the Central Executive Committee 
of the Kuomintang had its annual gathering. Without knowing what the Generalissimo told his 
war area commanders, Stilwell assumed that they were kept abreast of the Y-Force build-up though 
he worried over the commanders' adherence to the plan. CM-IN 9374, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 
Nov 42; CM-IN 12216, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Nov 42; CM-IN 1197, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 
Dec 42; CM-IN 3814, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Dec 42. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



241 



Area] gang. Short and stocky, serious. May be a henchman of Fish-head's but we'll have to 
risk it. T. V. vouches for him. Associated since 1923. 

They've accepted Wheeler as adviser. He's here and conferring with Ch'en. Arranging 
for meetings with signal, medical, ordnance, and transport services. 

I've put Dorn on the artillery. He has seen Yu Ta-wei and latter is with us 100% — many 
good suggestions. Six-in. trench mortars available. Getting Dorn all the dope on artillery 
equipment, organization, and assignment. Dorn will see operations people. 

Operations Section [Chinese General Staff ] state the 30 divisions will be put in and com- 
pressed into 20. Formed into 10 corps. Six divisions on Indo-China border, plus four at 
Kunming. Ten divisions in Y-Force. Peanut said only one on lower line. I want two and so 
does Liu. We'll probably get them. Of all the points I was after we now have substantially 
all but the purge [of incompetent commanders]. And even that is working piece meal. (Yu 
Fei-peng, Tu Yu-ming, Lo Cho-ying). 

We have now got both the Limies and the Chinese committed and working at it. If we 
can keep a fire lit under Wavell and horn in on command and training on this side, the job is 
in a fair way to get done. . . . And since everybody said it was impossible, naturally I'm 
pulling for it hard. 57 

Indeed, Stilwell was rolling, for on 1 December the Generalissimo agreed to 
command Y-Force in person. Stilwell at once told Marshall that since the 
Chinese had committed themselves, that since practically all the main points 
Stilwell had argued for had been accepted, the United States would have to be 
heard from next; for the situation was . . approaching the point where it 
was up to the United States to make good on promises of supply and transport. 
Chinese realize the seriousness and importance of operation and I believe are 
prepared for whole-hearted co-operation." 58 

Looking toward the future, Stilwell drafted a long and detailed memo- 
randum for Soong outlining a campaign in China once the Chinese Army was 
rebuilt. The prerequisite was Burma's recapture. Immediately after it was taken, 
the Y-Force should move east to Kweichow and Hunan and prepare to attack 
Hankow. Stilwell suggested immediate stockpiling of supplies in the Changsha 
area to support the drive on Hankow. After Hankow was encircled from the 
vicinity of Kiukiang, its fall would be certain. Next would come occupation of 
Hsuchow, in order to "reach Japan from the air. . . . As soon as there is any 
prospect for initiating it, a large increase of aviation should be secured to sup- 
port the operation and at once capitalize on it by starting an intensive and 
continuous bombing of Japan." 59 

Plans and Preparations in India 

Immediately after the 27 October conference with Wavell, Stillwell ordered 
his SOS to make plans for supporting the Chinese attack down the Hukawng 

57 Stilwell B&W, 19 Nov 42. 

58 CM-IN 1197, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Dec 42. 

59 Memo, in Stilwell's hand, for Soong. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. The memorandum 
speaks of U.S. instructors for Y-Force leaving the United States "about Dec. 1." There is no record 
of the memorandum having been presented, but since Stilwell obviously thought it important 
enough to preserve, it may have been. 



242 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Valley. Wheeler announced that he was beginning work at once and showed 
no doubt of SOS's ability to support an offensive. He planned to have ware- 
houses, sidings, and troop accommodations ready by 1 March in order to re- 
ceive personnel from the United States. Lend-lease supplies on hand would 
meet all of his needs except for seventy-two 81-mm. mortars, ordnance mainte- 
nance supplies, and medical supplies. The American personnel he needed 
totaled 540 officers, 256 nurses, and 9,906 enlisted men. 60 

The units Wheeler required illustrate the nature of U.S. support. Requested 
were one general hospital, three evacuation hospitals, one veterinary company, 
one medical battalion, one engineer depot company (less two platoons), one 
engineer maintenance company, one road-construction engineer regiment, 
twelve dump-truck companies, one quartermaster depot company, one quarter- 
master truck regiment, one quartermaster truck battalion, one ordnance depot 
company, one ordnance medium maintenance battalion, one infantry battalion, 
one military police battalion, and three antiaircraft batteries. Stilwell passed 
Wheeler's needs on to the War Department, thus facing it with the concrete 
problem of how far it could go in supporting a campaign in China-Burma- 
India that involved U.S. troops, materiel, and shipping. 61 

Agreement on some major points of logistical policy was reached by the 
Joint British and American Staff Committee, sitting in New Delhi, by 4 No- 
vember. The plans for co-ordinating the movement of supplies to Ledo with 
the movement of the British 4 Corps to Manipur State were completed. It was 
agreed that British responsibility for moving supplies to Ledo ended at the 
railhead and that the SOS would run the Ledo base. Six hundred tons of stores 
a week were allotted to the SOS in the Ledo area until 4 Corps' concentration 
was complete. Col. John C. Arrowsmith arrived at Ledo on 5 November to 
be gin reco nnaissance of the area, of the road trace, and of the Ledo base. 62 
I (Afa» 6) I 

Difficulties on the India side began to appear a fortnight after Stilwell 
secured the Generalissimo's conditional agreement on 3 November. General 
Ferris and Brig. Gen. William D. Old, Chief of Staff, Tenth Air Force, attended 
a meeting of Wavell's chiefs of staff, at which Wavell stated frankly he did not 
think troops could be trained and supplies accumulated by 1 March. He be- 
lieved with Stilwell that the reopening of Rangoon was the way to re-establish 
a supply route to China but did not think the needed resources would be at 
hand for some time. Nor did naval and air superiority seem likely of attain- 
ment. No action resulted from the meeting, 63 but to the Americans Wavell's 
reluctance to attempt a drive to the Chindwin seemed apparent. 

60 (1) Memo, Wheeler for Hearn, 29 Oct 42, quoting Memo, Stilwell for Wheeler. SNF-60. 
(2) Memo, Wheeler for Stilwell, 4 Nov 42, sub: Plans for Mission of SOS at X [Ledo]. SNF-58. 

61 (1) Memo cited n. 60(2). (2) MS 428, Army Service Forces Activities in the Supply of China, 
Burma, and India, 1942-1943, p. 47. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

62 (1) SOS in CBI, p. 18. (2) Interim Rpt byjt British and American Stf Com, 4 Nov 42. 
SNF-57. 

63 Min, 52d Mtg, COS Com, 17 Nov 42, COS(42)-III. SNF-84. 



244 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



British hesitation to undertake an operation in Burma in March 1943 became 
more evident during later November conferences between them and officers of 
StilwelPs headquarters. At a meeting between Colonel Merrill and Wavell's 
chief of staff, the latter pointed out that the Generalissimo's agreement to 
Burma operations was so hedged by conditions that it was hardly an agreement. 
He felt it would be impossible to support the Chinese once they were in 
Burma, yet . . the thought of another withdrawal into India caused every- 
one to shudder." 64 A three days' conference on the SOS's taking over the Ledo 
area left the definite impression on Colonel Merrill that the British delegates 
had sought to persuade the Americans into an admission that an advance into 
north Burma was impossible. Merrill felt the point had been reached at which 
the SOS would have to undertake to do what it could with U.S. resources. 
Therefore, wrote Merrill, the SOS was about to ask CBI Theater headquarters 
for aid. 65 

Merrill's proposal that the SOS shift its resources from support of the 
Tenth Air Force to support of road building introduced a major issue in the 
allocation of American resources within CBI— should the air effort or ground 
operations be sustained? On behalf of the SOS Merrill suggested that the 823d 
Engineer Battalion be diverted from the Tenth Air Force to the SOS, on condi- 
tion that the SOS keep the Assam airfields in shape. Merrill argued that with- 
out this battalion the Ledo base and the Ledo Road would be severely handi- 
capped, whereas the Tenth would be merely inconvenienced. He further 
recommended in his memorandum that the 45th Engineers, then scattered 
from Agra to Karachi, be concentrated in Assam with a minimum of delay. 
To both these requests, General Stilwell put "O.K." in the margin. There were 
more suggestions in the paper for dump-truck companies and Chinese engi- 
neers. In short, Merrill proposed concentrating the meager U.S. resources 
around Ledo and beginning construction of a base for the projected campaign 
on the most modest basis possible. To the majority of his suggestions Stilwell 
agreed. 66 

The exchanges in the conferences of 19-21 November with the British 
suggested to Merrill that Wavell's staff feared that a Chinese attack into north 
Burma was premature and could not be successfully accomplished but that the 
British feared to say so because of possible reactions in China and the United 
States. He told Stilwell that Wavell would probably suggest limiting spring 
1943 operations to a British advance to the Chindwin, plus occupation of 
Akyab, and postponement of more ambitious operations to fall 1943. 67 

Stilwell's needs for the North Burma Campaign were weighed by the War 
Department, and the answer that returned on 24 November provoked him into 
one of the strongest communications he, or probably any American com- 

64 Memo by Merrill, sub: Notes on Conf, 17 Nov 42. SNF-84. 

65 Memo by Merrill, sub: Summary of Confs Nov 19, 20, and 21. SNF-84. 

66 Ibid. 

67 Ibid. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



245 



mander, ever addressed to the War Department. The radio from Washington 
told Stilwell that because of other theaters' needs all he could be spared was 
essential lend-lease materiel, essential engineer items to support the Chinese, 
U.S. instructors, and the "increasing effectiveness" of the airline to China. 68 All 
of these items had been promised to him earlier, so according to this radio the 
War Department could spare nothing more to support the Chinese in their 
unprecedented offensive. The message was in accord with Marshall's 25 Septem- 
ber draft but not with the encouraging references to a Chinese campaign in the 
reply sent over the President's signature. On 28 November Stilwell sent the 
War Department a message of blunt and scathing candor, telling it that if 
nothing could be done for him, he was content; but he would be most obliged 
if the War Department would not go on telling him of its intent to back him 
to the limit, for this message from it was the limit. 69 If this radio accurately 
expressed the United States attitude, it would be extremely difficult to persuade 
the Chinese actually to go forward in Burma. 

More Than JCS Support Required 

The attitude StilwelPs military superiors took toward his proposals, and their 
accompanying feelings on persuading the British and Chinese to endorse 
StilwelPs proposals, was some months in evolving. On receiving the JCS's sug- 
gestions that plans be made for Burma's reoccupation, the CCS had referred 
them to their planners, who in turn reported in September that means for a 
major operation would not be available before fall 1943. Wavell's plans for a 
limited operation in Burma were in a sufficiently advanced stage to be com- 
municated to his superiors, so the Combined Planners examined them along 
with StilwelPs plans. 70 The scarcity of resources plus the trend of Wavell's and 
StilwelPs planning for a limited operation to take only north Burma in spring 
1943 to be followed later by opening Rangoon apparently impressed the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. As a result they were soon considering, for agreed-on Anglo- 
American strategy, a limited offensive before the 1943 monsoon along lines 
similar to those suggested by OPD: 

1. Take the Japanese airfields in north Burma which were being used as 
bases for attacks on the airline to China; 

2. Dislodge Japanese forces from the India border to enable roads to be 
built into north and central Burma for a line of communications to support 
fall 1943 operations; 

3. Take Akyab to obtain airfields in order to strengthen the air defense of 
Calcutta and future operations. 71 

68 Rad WAR 1724, Marshall to Stilwell, 24 Nov 42. Item 115, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

69 (1) CM-IN 12205, Stilwell to Timberman, 28 Nov 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 171. 

70 (1) CCS 104/2, 9 Sep 42, sub: Plan for Recapture of Burma. (2) Min, CPS 31st Mtg, 4 Sep 
42. Item 4, Tab L, ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec IB, A48-224. 

71 Notes, JCS 40th Mtg, 3 Nov 42, sub: Plan for Retaking Burma. ABC 384 (Burma), 
8-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224. 



246 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



This was on 3 November. Shortly after, StilwelPs report of his conferences 
with the Generalissimo came to Washington. Indicating approval of Stilwell's 
views, Marshall made a practice of sending Stilwell's more important commu- 
nications to the President, and so he sent this on, first explaining how he had 
made his views on Stilwell clear to Soong: 

... I forcibly impressed T. V. Soong with the fact that the great issue was Burma (not 
merely a harmonious group at Chungking) ; which meant a properly trained Chinese force 
at Ramgarh, an improved or selected Chinese force in Yunnan and a practical basis of co- 
operation with the British in such an operation— in other words Stilwell. 

General Stilwell apparently has gained ground that I did not anticipate. We have been 
working in the Combined Chiefs of Staff on an operation into Burma, and of course the 
great problem pertains to the logistics and the naval support required. Until the situation 
is clarified in the Middle East and the Caucasus, the calculations could only be on such a 
vague basis as to have little reality. 72 

On 8 November the situation in the Middle East and the Mediterranean 
began to clarify as the British and American forces successfully landed in 
French North Africa. Completion of the campaign would relieve British fears 
for the Middle East, would open a supply line through the Mediterranean 
to India, and would permit Wavell more freedom in approaching Burmese 
problems. Fears over the Caucasus abated as the Soviets began their counter- 
offensive at Stalingrad on 19 November. Four days later the German Army 
which had been attacking Stalingrad found itself encircled. The long German 
retreat was about to begin. The initiative had passed to the Allies. 

Stilwell's request for service troops and engineer equipment to support the 
north Burma operations arrived at a time when the War Department and JCS 
attitudes toward China and her problems were in the process of crystallizing. 
The 25 September draft by OPD of an answer to the Generalissimo's Three 
Demands took the attitude that nothing more than existing commitments 
could be spared for Stilwell. The President's formal reply of October urged 
offensive action in Burma on the Chinese. Stilwell had secured their assent to 
such action. However, on his asking for the means to support the Chinese in 
the offensive that the President had suggested, Stilwell had received OPD's 
chilling answer. Plainly, the time to harmonize the conflicting currents had 
come. And harmony was promptly established; the Chief of Staff supported 
Stilwell and told him so on 7 December: 

My Dear Stilwell: 

I am keenly aware of the seemingly unsurmountable difficulties that you have faced daily 
in the creation of an efficient striking force to reopen ground communications with China. 
You have far exceeded our expectations in securing authority for the reorganization which 
you are now rapidly putting into effect. We are doing everything in our power to find the 
ships to carry to you at least the bare essentials you so urgently require. Incidentally, the 
Chiefs of Staff are taking this up with the President tomorrow. 



72 Memo cited! n. 29. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



247 



To paraphrase Mr. Churchill's famous statement, nowhere has so much been done with 
so little as under your driving leadership. 

This note carries my Christmas greetings and personal thanks to you and your people. 
Please feel that we have you constantly in mind. I am certain that if we find ways and means 
to supply your most essential requirements you will give an historic beating to some Japs 
in 1943. 

Faithfully yours, 

(Signed) G. C. Marshall. 

P. S. I read your profane message for "Timberman's eye only" and I sympathize with 
you in your reaction. 73 

As General Marshall wrote, the Joint Chiefs placed the matter before 
Roosevelt on 8 December. In doing so, they revealed their pleasure at Stil- 
well's success in bringing the Chinese around. A significant new element was 
the statement that a limited operation along the lines Stilwell had discussed with 
Wavell could succeed and result in a land route to China from Ledo to Wanting 
via Myitkyina. StilwelPs initial proposals to Wavell had revealed no interest 
in such a route. After Wavell assigned Stilwell to north Burma, Stilwell had 
used the prospect of a road from Ledo to Kunming as an added argument to 
persuade the Chinese. Now, the Joint Chiefs were telling the President of the 
prospect. To give Stilwell road-building machinery and engineer, signal, and 
medical personnel, Marshall proposed to divert cargo vessels from lend-lease 
and troop lift from other operations. The JCS observed that if Anakim suc- 
ceeded in opening a land route to China, it would permit basing greater air 
power in China. Roosevelt approved the JCS's suggestion that Stilwell be 
given the means for his share of Anakim, and Stilwell's modest requirements 
for the projected operation received a priority second only to Eisenhower's in 
North Africa. 74 

In accordance with the JCS directive, Army Service Forces examined the 
problem of filling Stilwell's request. By eliminating every man whose work 
might be done by an Indian civilian, it believed that a shipment of 6,000 U.S. 
troops would be enough. These were assembled and rushed to CBI. 75 

Before Marshall's reassuring words were received by Stilwell, the latter was 
becoming increasingly aware that both British and Chinese were having long 
second thoughts about operations in Burma. While Stilwell was in Chungking 
in November working with the Chinese, his New Delhi headquarters under 
Ferris was in constant touch with WavelPs. General Ferris's reports were dis- 
quieting to General Stilwell. It seemed to the American staff that Wavell's 
India Command and the Royal Navy command for the Indian Ocean and the 
Bay of Bengal were approaching the operation with reluctance. Since the Gen- 

73 (1) Ltr, Marshall to Stilwell, 7 Dec 42. Stilwell Personal Papers. (2) Rad cite d n. 68.1 
74 (1) Suppl Min, JCS 45th Mtg, 8 Dec 42, Item 6. (2) JCS 162, 7 Dec 42, sub: Upns in 
Burma, Mar 43. (3) Rpt, Jt Subcom, JPS, 10 Dec 42, sub: Opns in Burma, Mar 43. ABC 384 
(Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224. (4) Ltr, Marshall to Dill, 13 Dec 42. OPD 381 CTO 

(12-13-42), A47-30. 

75 MS, pp. 46-55, cite ! n. &Um 



248 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



eralissimo had insisted on Allied naval and air superiority as a prerequisite, 
British reluctance could suggest to the Chinese leader that he might at any 
time declare India's arrangements inadequate and withdraw from the operation. 
The Generalissimo's position was known to India Command, which could 
easily make use of it by declaring naval strength unavailable, thus creating a 
situation from which the Generalissimo would be very likely to withdraw. 

General Wavell made it quite plain that any operation would have to be a 
success, and Stilwell wondered how that could be guaranteed. Admiral Sir 
James Somerville, commanding Eastern Fleet, seemed unable to think of any- 
thing that might be used to convince the Generalissimo that the Royal Navy 
commanded the Bay of Bengal and knew of no forthcoming reinforcements. 
Wavell's quartermaster-general argued in conference that the recently begun 
U.S. road-building effort from Ledo was foolhardy and a waste of resources. 76 

Stilwell's relations with Wavell and the Generalissimo were not improved 
by some actions of the U.S. Naval Attache in Chungking, Lt. Col. James M. 
McHugh, USMC. In October McHugh reported to the Navy Department a 
conversation between himself and the Generalissimo regarding Stilwell's re- 
placement by Chennault and offered his opinion that such a step would be 
wise. Returning to the United States, McHugh paused in New Delhi and dis- 
cussed Stilwell's plans and position with Wavell, criticizing Stilwell severely, 
and discoursing on Chennault's belief that Japan could be defeated by a minute 
China-based air force. In Marshall's opinion, expressed to the Joint Chiefs on 
21 December, this indiscretion caused irreparable harm to the U.S. war effort 
in CBI and the Southwest Pacific. 77 

The first week of December Ferris was approached privately by Wavell and 
asked to consent to the elimination of the projected campaign because of the 
logistic difficulties involved. 78 Wavell also complained to his superiors of the 
problems Stilwell was causing him. Stilwell was said to be in Chungking plan- 
ning for Burma operations without consulting Wavell and with little reference 
to his American staff in Delhi, who were alleged to know little of his plans. 
Ferris was accused of being afraid to present the "true administrative picture" 
to Stilwell and of being overawed by him. Wavell's radio was a very long one, 
cataloguing every logistical and medical problem, from the monsoon to ma- 
laria. Earlier, Wavell had hesitated to attempt more than the most limited 
operations in Burma. Now, he wondered if, in the light of all these difficulties, 

76 (1) Rad AMMDEL 516, Ferris to Stilwell, 18 Nov 42. Item 103, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 
(2) Ltr, Ferris to Stilwell, 16 Nov 42. Item 209, Bk 3, JWS Personal File. (3) CM-IN 11004, 
Stilwell to Marshall, 24 Nov 42. 

77 (1) Memo, Marshall for JCS, 21 Dec 42, sub: Gen Stilwell. OPD 381 CTO, Sec. 3, A47-30. 
(2) Suppl Min, JCS 47th Mtg, 22 Dec 42, Item 10. (3) Memo, Handy for Marshall, 12 Dec 42, 
sub: Rpt by Naval Attache in Chungking Re Opns U.S. Forces, CBI. OPD 381 CTO, Sec. 3, 
A47-30. 

78 (1) Rad AMMDEL 568, Ferris to Stilwell, 6 Dec 42. Item 136, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

(2) Rad AMMISCA 1494, Stilwell to Marshall, 7 Dec 42. Item 137, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

(3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 176. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



249 



the Allies would be wise to attempt the reoccupation of north Burma in spring 
1943. 79 Analyzing Wavell's comments, Colonel Roberts of OPD, who had 
been Stilwell's G-2 in Burma, reported that Wavell had in many ways mis- 
represented Stilwell's plans and solutions for his supply problems and that 
Wavell's radio simply indicated he was not an aggressive commander. 80 

Marshall moved to support Stilwell by applying some pressure through 
Field Marshal Dill. The Chief of Staff pointed out that recent preparations in 
India might not have been brought to Dill's attention. The Anglo-American 
planners at New Delhi had estimated that the British concentration in Mani- 
pur State could be completed on 15 January, that the stocking of the Ledo base 
could then begin, and that the Chinese Ramgarh-trained divisions would be 
there on 1 March with the supply base ready to support them. With the means 
at hand Stilwell would build a dry- weather, single-track road (for pack train 
operations beyond the roadhead) as far forward of Ledo as possible. "In the 
light of the above," asked Marshall, "and as soon as Wavell learns that we plan 
to send engineer and other service troops and equipment, do you not think 
that his attitude toward carrying out the British-American-Chinese limited 
operations against Burma will be less apprehensive?" 81 

On 7 December Wavell told Stilwell directly of his doubts. He was most 
anxious to see Stilwell because the extreme difficulty of solving the problem 
of keeping troops in north Burma through the monsoon was now apparent, 
and reinforcements for India from the Middle East in early 1943 were extremely 
doubtful. Therefore, a north Burma operation in spring 1943 might be 
premature. 82 

Stilwell and Ferris met with Wavell and his chiefs of staff in New Delhi 
on 17 December. Wavell stated that as agreed previously he had continued 
planning for a combined offensive into north Burma. The problem was logis- 
tics. While he had no doubt the British and Chinese could get into north 
Burma he did not see how they could stay there during the monsoon rains. 
The supply route to China could only be reopened by taking Rangoon; how- 
ever, the North African campaign had taken so much shipping that an am- 
phibious operation against Rangoon would be impossible before fall 1943. By 
implication, therefore, the projected north Burma campaign would accomplish 
nothing to relieve China. Stilwell replied that the Generalissimo was anxious 
to open a road from India to China. Inflation was becoming rampant in China, 
while the Chinese forces badly needed small arms ammunition, artillery shells, 
and artillery. "Gen. Wavell said that the question really hinged on the possi- 
bility of maintaining a force throughout the rains at Myitkyina, and he thought 
that what was needed was an estimate of the earliest date by which the road 

7 »(1) Rad COS W 388, COS toJSM, 9 Dec 42. Folder 22, OPD Exec 10. (2) Ltr, Dill to 
Marshall, 10 Dec 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

80 Memo, Roberts for Wedemeyer, 12 Dec 42. ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224. 

81 Ltrs, Marshall to Dill, 10, 13 Dec 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

82 Rad British MA to Stilwell, 7 Dec 42. SNF-46. 



250 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



could be through to Myitkyina and brought up to all-weather standards. . . ." 83 
Stilwell then described the U.S. contribution to the Ledo road-building 
effort and to sanitation, and the Chinese proposal to commit twenty reorgan- 
ized divisions. Wavell closed the discussion by remarking that he would go on 
with an advance toward Akyab regardless of what happened in north Burma 
though he had no plans to advance from Akyab. 84 

Wavell had planned a swift amphibious descent on Akyab, but North 
African operations had a higher priority on landing craft while a British am- 
phibious brigade, which might have been used, was riddled with malaria as an 
aftermath of the earlier occupation of Madagascar. Consequently, his advance 
on Akyab with the 14th Indian Division had to be overland, and it was under 
way as he spoke with Stilwell on 17 December. 85 

When Dill sent Marshall a British study urging that nothing be done in 
Burma, the Army's Chief of Staff was moved to offer in rebuttal an exposition 
of his own views on CBI strategy: 

Our great objective in the China Theater is the build-up of air operations in China with 
a view to carrying out destructive attacks against Japanese shipping and sources of supply. 

To get the plan under way, General Stilwell has, with our approval and that of the 
Generalissimo, undertaken a program of intensive training and the task of equipping and 
providing effective leadership for selected Chinese units. This has taken form through the 
medium of the reorganization of the Yunnan forces and the preparation of an Army Corps 
at the Ramgarh Training Center. 

The concessions made by the Generalissimo were promptly accepted and his promises of 
action are being implemented by the assignment of American officers with the units of his 
Yunnan forces, by the decision to have American officers accompany the advance into Burma 
of the Ramgarh Forces and by the provision of American service troops to back up the 
Ramgarh advance. 

I am confident the individual Chinese soldier will fight, has no nerves, requires a mini- 
mum of food, clothing and similar supplies, and should, if properly led, trained and equipped 
(which has never been the case in the past), give a good account of himself. 

The success of limited operations in Burma will afford increased protection to the air 
freight route to China and help to maintain this slender supply link to our American-China 
Air Task Force until such time as a land route can be opened. Upon the opening of a land 
route to China, we propose to move supplies for this air task force in increasing quantities 
and build up this force to where it will be extremely effective against the enemy. 

Our present operations in China are severely restricted by the limitations of the air freight 
route from India to China, which necessitates early offensive action to facilitate at the 
earliest possible moment the opening of a land route to China. 86 

The Emergence of the Chennault Plan 

Developments in Chungking paralleled those in Delhi. As soon as Stilwell 
tried to translate the Chinese 3 November promises into action, he met with 

83 Min, 6lst Mtg, COS Com, 17 Dec 42. SNF-84. 

84 Ibid. 

85 Field Marshal Viscount Wavell, "Operations in the India Command from 1st January, 1943, 
to 20th June, 1943," Supplement to The London Gazette, April 22, 1948, pars. 1-5. 

86 Ltr, Marshall to Dill, 21 Dec 42. WDCSA China (12-9-42), A45-466. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



251 



inertia in the Chinese Ministry of War and General Staff and an ever-growing 
tendency on the part of Chinese in high places to adopt the attitude, against 
which Magruder and Stilwell had often warned Marshall, that Chennault and 
his China Air Task Force should do the fighting in and for China. 87 Nothing 
loath, Chennault was now claiming that with 105 fighters, 30 medium bombers, 
and 12 heavy bombers he could defeat Japan. 88 The Generalissimo's diplomatic 
correspondence of 1943 suggests Chennault's claims had decisive effect on the 
Generalissimo's policies. 89 

Chennault's views on what could be accomplished in Asia by a small but 
effective air force were often expressed by him in 1941. 90 Then came the First 
Burma Campaign, in which his American Volunteer Group had performed 
brilliantly. But instead of becoming the senior American air officer in China 
Theater, Chennault had become subordinate to other airmen without his com- 
bat record. 91 Marshall's and Stil well's plans contemplated reforming the 
Chinese Army and clearing north Burma before giving Chennault the supplies 
for a major air effort in China. These plans were not to Chennault's liking; in 
July and September 1942 he stated that given about 2,000 tons of supplies a 
month he could operate aggressively and effectively against Japanese aircraft 
and merchant shipping. 92 

The absence of comment in StilwelPs diaries suggests that he may have 
been largely unaware of the trend of Chennault's thinking until mid-October. 
There is no word of criticism directed toward Chennault until mid-December. 
Stilwell had been quick to support Chennault in aggressive action. Thus, when 
a major Japanese convoy dropped anchor at Hong Kong in October 1942 
Stilwell was prompt to arrange reinforcements for Chennault to attack it. 

Big opportunity at Hong Kong. Discovered on Tuesday, October 6th. On the 10th, still 
nothing done. Ordered help up from India by rad to Bissell, urgent. 10 P. M. radio from 
Bissell wanting to "confer" at Dinjan on important project; the birds will have flown. . . , 93 

Bissell got right on the job. The typewriters [B-24's] should be in on Mon (5) and 
Tues (7). . . , 94 

. . . Birds should be ready to fly Tues A. M. The news is spreading. They can't keep their 
traps shut. . . . 95 

The real restraint on Chennault was the inability of the Hump to support 
his operations. In his memoirs Chennault charges Stilwell with studied neglect 

87 (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 179, 180, 183. (2) See Chs| III jv^above. 
88 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 214. 

89 (1) Rad AG WAR 31, Chiang to Roosevelt, 9 Jan 43. Item 161, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 
(2) Ltr, Chiang to Roosevelt, 23 Feb 43. Item 58, OPD Exec 10. (3) Ltr, Soong to Roosevelt, 29 
Apr 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. 

90 See Ch. I, no l 101 17-2l1 a bove. 

91 See Ch. II, dp T7^T78^791 above. 

92 See Ch. V, pp l 187-^1 above. 

95 Stilwell B&W, 10 Oct 42. Lack of criticism in Stilwell diaries may usually be taken as 
approval. 

94 Stilwell Diary, 11 Oct 42. 

95 Stilwell Diary, 12 Oct 42. 



252 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



of the airline to China, but Stilwell, as noted in Chapter V, was always asking 
for more transports than OPD would allocate. 96 Whether Stilwell should have 
devoted more time to his relations with the commander of the China Air Task 
Force is a major question, but, for whatever reasons, Stilwell did not, and 
Chennault drew his own conclusions. 

Administrative problems embittered relations between Chennault's air 
force and Bissell's staff. Charged with misuse of its radio command net, scolded 
for using irregular command channels, suspected of harboring a smuggling 
ring, and disciplined for the misconduct of its personnel, the China Air Task 
Force felt persecuted. Moreover, Chennault deeply resented a directive which 
gave Bissell the right to select tactical commanders and staff officers for the 
China Air Task Force. Correspondence on the subject of appointments and 
removals of China Air Task Force staff officers revealed animosity between 
Bissell and Chennault. 97 

The September directive from Stilwell's headquarters made defense of the 
Hump Chennault's primary mission, but the monsoon rains of October in 
effect performed that mission for him and left him free to mount a series of 
attacks on Japanese aircraft and shipping in and near China that brought 
excellent results at small cost. 

In defense of their portion of the ferry route, Chennault's fighters made 
offensive sweeps over Burma which persuaded him that "With a relatively 
small effort the C.A.T.F. was able to keep the enemy supply system sufficiently 
disjointed to make it impossible to accumulate enough materiel in advanced 
positions for a major offensive. The Japs were never able to support more than 
a few small patrols on the east bank of the Salween, and their long-anticipated 
major offensive never materialized despite the weakness of the Chinese 
defenses." 98 Chennault concluded from this that a small air force could do 
great things to stop an army. Unfortunately for his deductions, the Japanese 
15th Army had no thought of crossing the Salween, for its gaze was fixed on 
India; the anticipated offensive toward Kunming was a complete misinter- 
pretation. 99 

When Mr. Wendell L. Willkie came to China in October as the President's 
personal representative Chennault made another convert. To Willkie, Chennault 
gave a letter for the President, dated 8 October 1942. In the letter he asked for 
"full authority as the American military commander in China," and an air force 
of 105 fighters, 30 medium bombers, and 12 heavy bombers, to be kept up to 
strength with 30 percent fighter replacements and 20 percent bomber replace- 

96 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 203. 

97 (1) Memo, Bissell for Chennault, 16 Sep 42, sub: Infraction of Radio Procedure, with Incls 
and Inds. Misc Corresp Folder (Apr-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) Rad SVC 130, Bissell to 
Stilwell, 1 Dec 42; Rad AG 409, Stilwell to Marshall, 18 Oct 42. Items 128, 78, Bk 1, JWS 
Personal File. (3) Portions of the bitter exchange of letters between Chennault and Bissell are in 
CATF 312.9, USAF Hist Div. 

98 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 195. 

"Japanese Study 89. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



253 



ments. With this tiny air force he would "accomplish the downfall of Japan," 
and "destroy the effectiveness of the Japanese Air Force," the latter feat 
"probably within six months, within one year at the outside." To support this 
force, the aerial supply line over the Hump should be built up, but the amount 
of freight to be carried over it was "very small." 100 

How, precisely, would Chennault do this? He told the President: 

Japan must hold Hong Kong, Shanghai, and the Yangtze Valley. They are essential to 
hold Japan itself. I can force the Japanese Air Force to fight in the defense of these objectives 
behind the best air warning net of its kind in the world. With the use of these tactics, I am 
confident that I can destroy Japanese aircraft at the rate of between ten and twenty to one. 
When the Japanese Air Force refuses to come within my warning net and fight, I will strike 
out with my medium bombers against their sea supply line to the Southwest Pacific. In a 
few months the enemy will lose so many aircraft that the aerial defense of Japan will be neg- 
ligible. I can then strike at Japan from Chuchow and Lishui with heavy bombers. My air 
force can burn up Japan's two main industrial areas — Tokyo and the Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya 
triangle— and Japan will be unable to supply her armies in her newly conquered empire in 
China, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, etc. with munitions of war. The road is then open 
for the Chinese Army in China, for the American Navy in the Pacific and for MacArthur 
to advance from his Australian stronghold — all with comparatively slight cost. 

While engaged in these operations, I will maintain full ground installations for the 
eastern terminus of the ferry route in Yunnan, at Kunming, Chanyi, Yunnanyi, etc. If a 
really major swift aerial movement is made by the Japanese across their staging route into 
Burma, to attack the India-China air supply lines, then, acting on interior lines of air com- 
munications, I can move back and again be within the warning net which I have established 
in Yunnan, and meet the Japanese over their Burma airfields and then and there destroy 
whatever force they have sent against us. 

My entire above plan is simple. It has been long thought out. I have spent five years 
developing an air warning net and radio command service to fight this way. I have no doubt 
of my success. 101 

This then was the Chennault plan: attack military objectives in Japanese- 
held China; destroy the Japanese Air Force when it tried to defend them; then 
bomb the Japanese home islands after the Japanese Air Force had been 
destroyed. The logistic requirements steadily expanded in the years ahead, but 
the plan itself was unchanged. 

Arnold heard that Chennault claimed two hundred aircraft would give him 
air superiority in China. Apparently, too, Chennault's complaints about lack 
of support were being heard in Washington. Stilwell immediately answered 
that Chennault's men had first priority on available supplies, that Chennault 
had wide latitude under his directive, and denied that any obstacles were being 
put in the way of awards to Chennault's airmen. Stilwell went on to say that 
while Chennault was superior in his sphere, his administration was bad. Stilwell 
doubted that Chennault could achieve air superiority in China, because only a 
few American aircraft could operate there. In reply, Stimson wrote that if 
Stilwell accepted Chennault's administrative weaknesses and gave him more 

100 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 212-14. 

101 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 215- 



254 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



support and prestige, the result might strengthen Stilwell with the General- 
issimo. 102 

In late November Madame Chiang arrived in the United States and was met 
in New York by Mr. Hopkins. After telling Hopkins that she had come to the 
United States only for medical treatment and rest, "in the same breath she 
proceeded to raise many questions relating to China and the United States." 103 
In the course of her interview with Hopkins, Madame Chiang made it "pretty 
clear she does not like Stilwell and expressed the greatest admiration for 
Chennault." 104 Her expressions found a willing listener, for Hopkins was an 
enthusiastic supporter of Chennault in the highest Administration circles, 
which, thanks to Mr. Willkie, the U.S. Naval Attache, Colonel McHugh, and 
returning members of Chennault's task force, were now fully aware of 
Chennault's claims and grievances. 105 

On 9 November 1942 the President wrote to Mr. Joseph W. Alsop, the 
columnist, then about to join Chennault in China, that he wished he could go 
with him to Chennault and that he was suggesting as an alternative that 
Chennault be called back for a short visit if the American airman thought it 
advisable. 106 

The Chinese Hesitate 

In China, December found Stilwell having an increasingly difficult time 
with the Chinese Ministry of War and General Staff. Continuing his attempt 
to work through T. V. Soong, Stilwell bombarded the Chinese diplomat with 
memoranda, frankly discussing the difficulties which were accumulating with 
every day's delay. On 5 December Stilwell warned Soong that if the Burma 
operation was to succeed preparations had to begin at once, but "It is not 
known that these Armies have started to march." After discussing the artillery 
situation and criticising the dilettante approach that the Chinese had adopted 
toward it, he wrote: "The time has come when the Chinese Government must 
decide whether or not it intends to carry out the operation. To date there has 
been little indication that it considers the matter seriously. Sacrifices must be 
made. Difficulties must be overcome." 107 

Analyzing the situation he faced, Stilwell wrote, "What the hell will I do 
if they saddle me with this thing? Ramgarh Force— OK. Y- Force? (unless we 

102 (1) CM-OUT 05132, Arnold to Stilwell, 16 Oct 42. (2) Rad AMMDEL AM 409, Stilwell 
to Marshall, 18 Oct 42; Rad WAR 100, Stimson to Stilwell, 24 Oct 42. Items 78, 79, Bk 1, JWS 
Personal File. 

103 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 660. 

104 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 661. 

105 Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. 

106 F.D.R., His Personal Letters, 1928-1945 (New York, 1950), Vol. II, p. 1361. Contrast the 
President's statement of Alsop's mission, dated 9 November 1942, with a memorandum, Stettinius 
for Hopkins, dated 17 November 1942, in Book VII, Hopkins Papers: "I have today completed 
arrangements for Joe Alsop to proceed to Chungking about December 1 to become the lend-lease 
representative there." 

107 Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 5 Dec 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



255 



get a tough comdr). Limies? (lukewarm). Naval support—? Air support — ? It 
seems to be mostly question marks!" 108 

But since on the surface at least the Chinese were co-operative, Stilwell 
adhered to his quid pro quo approach and told Marshall in a very strong radio 
that the United States in turn must honor its promises. After telling the Chief 
of Staff what the consequences would be if the Air Force was allowed to divert 
12 transport aircraft promised earlier for support of the Y-Force, Stilwell went 
on to say that there should be an immediate increase in aid to China, that 2 
fighter groups, 1 medium bomber group, and 50 transports should be dis- 
patched at once to CBI, and that the 3,500 tons a month of lend-lease should 
be stepped up to 10,000 tons a month regardless of whether it could be moved 
from India or not. 109 

By 23 December, Stilwell spoke to Soong in terms of urgent warning. The 
Generalissimo had entrusted plans and preparations to that same General Lo 
Cho-ying whom Stilwell had forced out of Ramgarh for his attempt to divert 
100,000 rupees a month to his own pocket, and the results had not been 
impressive. 

More progress can be made if there is less nonsense. Just one department— the 
Ordnance — is working efficiently. Everywhere else is delay and confusion. The trouble can 
be largely corrected, even now, if the Generalissimo will appoint a real commander, give him 
real authority, and hold him responsible for results. 

Has a commander been appointed for the Y- Force? I do not know yet, and I am entitled 
to the information. . . . 

We have as difficult a task as I can conceive of coming in through the Hukawng Valley— 
the worst malaria section in the world— building a road over two hundred miles long 
through the mountains, and taking on a fight for a junction with the Y-Force. . . . Under 
these circumstances [of major U.S. aid for the project] I must assure myself that the Chinese 
commander is competent. 

I have reported to the Generalissimo that in my opinion Lo Cho-ying and his staff are 
not competent to make the preparations for this operation. They have no conception of the 
requirements. . . . 

If the present neglect of essentials by Lo— who I assume is the candidate for command- 
continues ... I shall not feel justified in pushing my own people as I am doing at present. 
But even Lo could be made to do if the Generalissimo, as he agreed, will take command and 
insist on action. 

As the matter is being conducted now, it cannot be put on at the date set, and may easily 
break down entirely. . . . The net result might very well be the acquiring by the British 
of all American resources in this Theater, for use in India under British command. We must 
avoid such a catastrophe at any cost. To do it, it is essential that the Generalissimo realize 
that efficient, radical, prompt steps be taken, that the War Ministry be energized, and that 
the command question be settled. 110 

Over the next few days Soong pondered Stilwell's warning that without 
drastic remedial action the attack from Yunnan would fail. A solution other 

108 Stilwell B&W, 9 Dec 42. 

10 *(1) CM-IN 9374, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Nov 42. (2) CM-IN 3891, Stilwell to Marshall, 
9 Dec 42. 

110 Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 23 Dec 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



256 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



than remedial action may well have suggested itself to Soong, that is, to post- 
pone the operation until fall. The Chinese Foreign Minister knew of the differ- 
ences between Chennault and Stilwell, and certainly after a radio from Marshall 
on 16 December Stilwell was fully aware of Chennault's claim that he could 
defeat Japan with a tiny air force. If Soong could adjust the relationship be- 
tween Stilwell and Chennault and pave the way toward the badly needed reform 
of the Chinese Army and Air Force, he would have made a major contribution 
to China Theater. 111 

Soong's proposal for a compromise solution was given to Colonel Dorn 
on Christmas Eve, 1942. On Christmas Day, Stilwell recorded that Dr. Soong 
had told Dorn of Soong's belief that "we have a chance to do almost anything." 
Soong suggested Stilwell yield on Chennault in order to obtain what Stilwell 
cryptically called "the big gravy." Soong, so Stilwell believed, was "firmly 
convinced Henry [Stimson] and George [Marshall] will do anything I tell 
them to." 112 

This was a crucial moment in StilwelPs relations with the Chinese. 
Stilwell's response to Soong's suggestion would reveal StilwelPs attitude and 
intentions in China Theater. If Stilwell accepted Soong's suggestions, if Soong 
in turn could deliver "the big gravy," then Stilwell could press forward with 
reform and reorganization of the Chinese Army, which as Stilwell himself had 
stated did not depend on materiel, while Chennault could have a free hand 
with his plans. And, if Stilwell aimed at command of the Chinese Army, his 
answer would reveal it, for it would have to define "the big gravy," as Stilwell 
saw it. 

Stilwell's answer of 27 December was given orally, possibly to avoid 
compromising Soong. As was Stilwell's custom, he drafted it carefully before- 
hand: 

1. Long Range Objective: 

A powerful independent China, with a modern well-organized Army, in a position to 
back up all legitimate demands, and with close ties of interests and friendship with the 
United States. (Under these conditions, peace in the Orient could be assured, and China 
could take the lead in the organization of an Asiatic League of China, Indo-China, Siam, 
Burma, and India. The Pacific Ocean would be controlled jointly by the United States and 
China, with no conflicts of interest in the Dutch East Indies, Australia, or the Philippine 
Islands.) 

2. Immediate Objective: 

Re-organization, equipment, and training of the Chinese Army, including the Air Force. 
The 30- Division Plan can be adapted to the units of the Y-Force, concentrated in Yunnan, 
where they are accessible for training and supply, and at the same time assure the defense of 
a vital area. (To assure supply, and convince the United States of China's sincerity, the joint 

111 (1) Stilwell Diary, 16 Dec 42. (2) CM-IN 5640, Stilwell to Marshall, 13 Dec 42. 

112 Stilwell Diary and B&W, 25 Dec 42. The original texts are: "Full day. T. V. called Dorn 
over last night and gave him a blast. Wants me to give Chennault his way. Wrote out a scheme. 
Also suggestion for a mission to the U.S. headed by Ho." (Diary) "T. V. thinks we have a chance 
to do almost anything. He wants me to give in on Chennault in order to get my mitts on the big 
gravy. He is firmly convinced that Henry and George will do anything I tell them to." (B&W) 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



257 



operation against Burma is an essential preliminary step. If unduly delayed, doubts will arise 
in the United States, and the present inclination to assist, even at the expense of other Thea- 
ters, will cool off. On the other hand this evidence of China's intentions to make what effort 
she can with her meager resources, will greatly enhance her prestige in the United States and 
put her in a position to get further help.) 
3- Obstacles: 

a. Time. Avoidable delays have made it difficult to prepare the operation in time, but it 
is still possible if red tape can be cut, and if the Generalissimo gets behind it. 

b. Insufficient Means. We can make up for Japanese superiority in equipment and training 
by numbers, co-ordination with the British move, and proper leadership. 

c. Cumbersome administration and obstruction by certain elements with different ideas. The 
answer to this is a re-organization of the War Ministry, which might in effect, be accom- 
plished by the following plan: 

The Generalissimo to form a Mission to the United States to confer on all aspects of the 
war in the China Theater, in particular on further aid to China. General Ho Ying-ch'in 
should head this mission. It would take up such questions as the supply for the second 30- 
Division Plan, tank units, air service, the new Chinese Navy, development of road and rail 
communications, motor transport, technical assistants, etc. It would tour the manufacturing 
plants in the United States and serve also as a good- will mission. At least six months would 
be needed for it to complete its duties. 

Meanwhile the Generalissimo would be concurrently Minister of War, and would appoint 
Dr. T. V. Soong as his Executive Assistant to co-ordinate American and Chinese activities for the 
improvement of the technical and supply services of the Chinese Army. [StilwelPs italics] The Ord- 
nance is no problem, Communications, under Tseng Yang-fu should be no problem. The Air 
Service can be handled. Engineering and Motor Transport can be handled through Tseng 
Yang-fu. The medical tangle can be straightened out by the appointment of a strong man to 
head the service. The present Service of Supply can be developed and perpetuated as the field 
set-up for the entire Army. The "technical" control can be extended to Infantry and Artillery 
units through the medium of training schools that can be set up in Yunnan. (The Ramgarh 
school should continue as a feeder of Chinese instructors to units in China.) 

d. The obstacle to the above is principally in in [sic'] the Chinese General Staff, which 
for various reasons, is almost completely indifferent to and neglectful of the present low 
state of training, morale, equipment, supply, and leadership in the Chinese Army. Such 
minutiae as occasional breakage of supplies in the American Service of Supply in India, or 
orders for moving picture apparatus, or the status of a few airplane or motor parts, receive 
the attention that should be devoted to the big and glaring deficiencies in the Chinese Army 
itself. Some way must be found to energize the War Ministry, or such tendencies will continue 
to nullify all the efforts that are made elsewhere. 

The mission suggested above offers a possible means od [sic] starting some much-needed 
changes. 113 

StillwelPs answer had some subtle aspects. On the basis of his great power 
within the Chinese Government, Soong had offered to mediate between Stil- 
well and Chennault. Stilwell's answer ignored this offer and countered with a 
proposal that closely resembled Soong's proposal to Stilwell. Aware that Soong 
considered him to wield great influence in Washington, Stilwell suggested an 

115 In his diary entry of 25 December 1942, Stilwell noted: ''Wrote out a scheme. Also sug- 
gestion for a mission to the U.S. headed by Ho." The "scheme" is a Memorandum, Stilwell for 
Soong, dated 27 December 1942, in the Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. On the typed memo 
is the note in Stilwell's hand: "Gist to T. V. verbally." 



258 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



arrangement that would greatly extend Soong's power in China at the expense 
of Gen. Ho Ying-chin, Soong's colleague. 

While Soong and Stilwell conducted their delicate negotiations in Chung- 
king, Soong's China Defense Supplies, Inc., in Washington, presented its 
version of China's lend-lease requirements for 1943. General Somervell 
promptly passed the Chinese bid on to Stilwell, observing that many of the 
Chinese proposals were beyond U.S. production capacity. Somervell added that 
the Chinese had assured him that their program was approved by Stilwell. Stil- 
well hastened to set matters straight and told Somervell that far from having 
approved the Chinese proposals, he was then in the process of reaching an 
agreement with Soong, Chen Cheng, and Ho Ying-chin on what the 1943 
Chinese lend-lease program was to be. 114 

The Generalissimo Says No 

Soong never answered directly, but over the weeks ahead Chinese diplomatic 
messages and Chinese inaction spelled out the answer. First hint that the Chi- 
nese would not cross the Salween in spring 1943 came in a radio from the 
Generalissimo to the President on 28 December. The Generalissimo claimed 
that in spring 1942 Churchill had assured the Pacific powers that at the end of 
the monsoon rains the Royal Navy would have eight battleships, three carriers, 
and supporting craft in the Bay of Bengal. In the Generalissimo's opinion 
Burma could not be taken without Allied naval control of the bay. Now, Stil- 
well had told him the Eastern Fleet had only destroyers and submarines. More- 
over, though Wavell had allegedly promised that seven divisions would take 
part in the operation, the Generalissimo now understood only three would be 
used. The Chinese would be ready in March but could not attack unless the 
Royal Navy was ready to dominate the Bay of Bengal. 115 

This radio stirred Washington. Marshall at once told the President that 
Stilwell had reported no serious matter unsettled save that the Generalissimo 
insisted on British naval superiority in the bay. The President reacted immedi- 
ately and sent a strong message, on 2 January 1943, to the Generalissimo 
through Stilwell. The Generalissimo was told that opening the Burma Road 
was more important than reoccupying all Burma, and he was promised that 
at the earliest possible date the President would definitely take up with the 
highest Allied authorities the matter of reopening the Burma Road without 
any avoidable delay. 116 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the naval question with the British Joint 

Rad AMMISCA 1924, Somervell to Stilwell, 30 Dec 42. (2) CM-IN 1933, Stilwell to 
Marshall, 5 Jan 43. 

115 Msg, Chiang to President, 28 Dec 42, sent as CM-IN 12657, Stilwell to Marshall, 30 Dec 
42. Item 150, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

116 Memo and Incl, Marshall for President, 30 Dec 42. Roosevelt's reply to the Generalissimo's 
28 December 1942 message is WAR 1942, Roosevelt to Stilwell for Chiang, 2 Jan 43. WDCSA 
(China), A45-466, and Item 156, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



259 



Staff Mission, and Marshall told the JCS: "Advantage must be taken of the 
willingness of the Chinese to take the offensive. Means must be found to give 
the Generalissimo the necessary assurance that will enable the attack to jump 
off." 117 

The means were not to be found. Dill's attitude, consistent with that of 
Wavell, was cool, and he argued that the Generalissimo was confused about 
the nature and extent of proposed operations in Burma. There could be no fleet 
operations in the Bay of Bengal, Dill told Marshall, because Eastern Fleet 
lacked destroyers to escort the obsolete battleships which were all it had. Thi 
attitude was made yet more emphatic as the American authorities learnet 
Wavell had told Dill that Stilwell was aware British naval co-operation couk 
not be counted on even though the Generalissimo made it a condition of his 
joining in Burma operations. 118 

Soong came to Stilwell's house on 4 January 1943 to receive the President's 
message and assured Stilwell the Chinese would be ready to go on time. On 
the 6th, Stilwell's hopes of a successful operation fell when he learned the 
Generalissimo had appointed Lt. Gen. Tu Yu-ming, whose relief Stilwell had 
requested months before because of his performance at Toungoo in April 1942, 
as a group army commander of the Y-Force reserve at Kunming. 119 

The Generalissimo's formal withdrawal from the proposed Salween 
campaign came in the form of a reply on 8 January 1943 to the President's 
radio of 2 January: 

I am deeply grateful for your message dated January 2nd. With reference to it, the follow- 
ing points suggest themselves to me. 

(1) The Japanese are fully aware that their final defeat will be accomplished, not by slow 
and costly reduction of island after island in the southwest Pacific, but by hard blows at the 
heart of their system of new conquests, on the mainland of Asia. 

(2) Their resistance has been extremely tenacious, even when fighting superior numbers 
for points not strategically vital, as in New Guinea. It is reasonable to assume that when the 
first hard blow at the heart is struck, they will fight still more obstinately and with infinitely 
more carelessness of the resources expended. An advance into Burma, even if limited to 
North Burma alone, would be such a blow. Furthermore, the Japanese have now had ample 
time to establish themselves and fortify their positions in Burma, and to repair the facilities 
of the numerous supply lines, river, rail and road, by which they may reinforce and munition 
their armies. In a campaign in North Burma supply lines which would be available to us 
both on the Indian and on the Chinese side, are weak and exceedingly restricted. 

(3) Therefore I am convinced that the attempt to retake Burma must be a combined 
overland and seaborne operation. Unless the navy could prevent enemy reinforcements by 
sea, or enable a landing force to take the Japanese in the rear in South Burma, the enemy will 
be in a position to concentrate rapidly against our armies in the North. Owing to the weak- 
ness of our supply lines, we shall not be able to match the Japanese concentration, whatever 

117 Memo, Marshall for Handy, 5 Jan 43; Memo, Marshall for JCS, 5 Jan 43, sub: Burma Opns. 
Item 22, OPD Exec 10. 

118 ( 1) Ltr, Dill to Marshall, 2 Jan 43; Memo, Marshall for Handy, 5 Jan 43. Item 22, OPD 
Exec 10. (2) CM-OUT 2819, Marshall to Stilwell, 8 Jan 43. 
119 (1) Stilwell Diary, 5 Jan 43. (2) Stilwell B&W, 6 Jan 43. 



260 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



strength we may have available in the rear. Thus I consider it possible, and even likely, that 
in an advance restricted to North Burma our armies would ultimately be exposed to the risk 
of defeat. I am also convinced that to avoid defeat, the Allied forces must strenuously muster 
satisfactory numbers and quality on the Indian as well as on the Chinese side, and I consider 
that the forces which Field Marshal Wavell now proposes to engage are too inadequate. 

(4) For these reasons, I regretfully conclude that if the navy is unable to control the 
Burma seas, it will be better to wait a few months longer, or even until the monsoon season 
ends next autumn, than to run the risks involved in the suggested North Burma campaign. 
Keenly as China desires the re-opening of her land communications, ready as I am to do 
anything in my power to bring the day nearer, I cannot forget that another failure in Burma 
would be a disaster for China so grave that the results cannot now be predicted. Under the 
circumstances, the more cautious course appears the only one open to me. 

Then, in his next paragraph the Generalissimo struck the note that was to 
dominate the next eighteen months in China Theater— the acceptance of 
Chennault's claims and the reliance on U.S. air power. 

(5) Although the advance into Burma is temporarily deferred, there is no reason why 
preparatory measures in this theatre should not be pushed forward as rapidly as is consistent 
with the Grand strategy of the United Nations. The remarkable potentialities of an air 
offensive in China have already been demonstrated by a small and ill-supported force. I 
believe that an early air offensive is feasible, since, owing to the peculiar tactical conditions 
which prevail here, neither the supply, material and personnel requirements are such as to 
embarrass the United Nations' air effort elsewhere. The return, I predict, will be out of all 
proportion to the investment, and by further weakening the Japanese air arm and striking at 
the sea-borne communications with their new conquests, an air offensive in China will 
directly prepare for the ultimate general offensive to which we both look forward. 

(6) I would also urge that even if the British are not now able to muster sufficient 
strength, everything be done to induce them to set a definite date by which time they will 
have already concentrated adequate land and naval forces for a Burma campaign. 

(7) On the part of the Chinese Army, I reiterate that we are proceeding with our prep- 
arations with all possible speed. We shall be ready to strike whenever our Allies are ready. 

I have placed our position before you with the utmost frankness, which the gravity of 
the situation demands. I repeat, it is with the deepest regret and only after the most careful 
thought, that I have reached the conclusions herein expressed. 120 

The United States was at first reluctant to accept the Generalissimo's 
message at face value. For a week or more Stilwell thought the Chinese might 
yet attack. Roosevelt urged the Generalissimo not to make a final decision until 
after a forthcoming conference between the President and Churchill, for naval 
support could be arranged there in ample time for March operations. The Gen- 
eralissimo would not accept this, and his 8 January message was the final 
answer. It was regarded by the highest Allied authorities as ending prospects 
for a Burma operation in spring 1943. 121 

120 Rad AGWAR 31, Chiang to President, 8 Jan 43. Item 161, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. Sent 
as CM-IN 3980, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Jan 43. 

121 ( 1) Rad, Roosevelt to Chiang, 9 Jan 43. Item 19, OPD Exec 10. (2) JCS Min, Casablanca 
Conf, p. 65. (3) Rads AMMDEL AD 134, 139, Stilwell to Ferris, 23 Jan 43. Item 183, Bk 1 
JWS Personal File 



THE ATTEMPT TO PLAN A SPRING CAMPAIGN 



261 



A few weeks later Madame Chiang addressed the Congress. A report stated, 
"The audience shouted unrestrainedly when she said: 'From five and a half 
years of experience we in China are convinced that it is the better part of 
wisdom not to accept failure ignominiously, but to risk it gloriously!' " 122 

Summary 

The Generalissimo's refusal to risk failure in Burma, and his obvious desire 
that offensive action in China Theater be the task of American aircraft and 
American airmen, ended a period in which Stilwell, with the support of the 
President, had sought to persuade the Chinese into seeking their own salvation 
by reforming their Army and with their allies making an effort to break the 
blockade of China. In the course of this effort, Stilwell had presented a plan of 
action to the Chinese, British, and Americans, had begun organizing and equip- 
ping a Chinese corps at Ramgarh, and had sought to persuade the Chinese into 
assembling twenty reorganized and re-equipped divisions in Yunnan. The Joint 
Chiefs of Staff approved his plan. His immediate superiors, Stimson and Mar- 
shall, approved his suggestion that a bargaining approach be adopted in dealing 
with the Chinese. 

The British revealed reluctance to mount an operation into Burma almost 
as soon as they had agreed to begin preparations for it. Further complicating 
matters, General Chennault placed before the Chinese, the British, and Stil- 
well's superiors his claim that with 105 fighters, 30 medium bombers, and 12 
heavy bombers plus replacements he could defeat Japan. The proposition was 
most attractive to the Chinese. Chennault urged it strongly during the weeks 
when British hesitations were becoming apparent in Chungking. The Gener- 
alissimo accepted Chennault's views. Moreover, he joined those who were 
urging them on the President, among whom was the President's closest adviser, 
Harry Hopkins. 

Having accepted Chennault's ideas, the Generalissimo called a halt to the 
operations scheduled for spring 1943. Thereby he moved to a diplomatic posi- 
tion of considerable strength, from which he could urge that the solution of 
China's military problems lay in the United States sending more and yet more 
air power to China, rather than in anything the Chinese might do for 
themselves. 

The President was thus confronted with a major issue. Inevitably, he would 
have to choose between support of Stilwell and Marshall, with their insistence 
on bargaining with the Generalissimo to reform his Army with a view toward 
fighting the Japanese, and of General Chennault, whose plan permitted the 
President to be in full accord with the Generalissimo's wishes. 



122 Time, March 1, 1943. 



CHAPTER VIII 



Anakim Marks Time 



All things considered, Stilwell was rather relieved by the Generalissimo's 
refusal to cross the Salween River into Burma. Stilwell's memorandums to 
Soong had been eloquent in their description of Chinese unreadiness and, as 
Stilwell believed, unwillingness, so the months ahead could be used to good 
advantage. Up to the present, Stilwell had enjoyed a good measure of support 
from his government, and by January 1943 it was plain that he would need it if 
China were to be rearmed. True, the President at Currie's suggestion had refused 
to ask anything of the Chinese in return for lend-lease, but on the other hand, 
and apparently more important to Stilwell, the shrewd and well-informed 
Soong regarded Stilwell worthy of collaboration. So long as Soong, and such 
Chinese as thought like Soong, regarded Stilwell as commanding predominant 
influence in Washington, then Stilwell could apply himself to reform of the 
Chinese Army without worrying about his position. 

The Generalissimo's action could even be made to support the cause of 
Army reform, so long as Stilwell's superiors appeared to attach importance to 
his projects. Unity and coherence among American personalities and agencies 
would be vital in dealing with the Chinese. With unity and coherence, with 
American technical skill to draw on, the most daringly conceived projects 
might perhaps succeed despite all that could be urged against them, but "if the 
trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" 

Talks About Reform Continue 

Stilwell's initial and personal reaction to the Generalissimo's withdrawal 
from the projected March 1943 offensive was an indignant one, but, after he 
had surveyed the new situation and mapped out his course of action, he wrote 
in his diary on 18 January 1943 that it was a "damn good thing March 1 is off. 
We'd have been hung." 1 There must have been encouragement for him in a 
letter from Stimson that he received about this time, even though the Secretary 
of War wrote it before the Generalissimo's refusal to cross the Salween was 
known in Washington. 

'(1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 1-85. (2) Stilwell Diary, 18 Jan 43. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



263 



Although I have not written you as often as I should have liked to, I have been following 
your negotiations and actions with the deepest interest and confidence. There is hardly a step 
you take that is not talked over by Marshall and myself and I know that our feelings for you 
are similar and deep. You have been sorely tried and I hope you realize how thoroughly we 
appreciate what you have been through. It is a very real source of gratification to us both 
that you seem now to be successful in conquering all of the difficulties which have been 
thrown in your path. 

Wherever it is possible, we have tried to smooth your way for we believe in the 
soundness of your judgment and the correctness of your strategic decisions. We realize the 
dangers and difficulties of the North Burma campaign which have apparently so disheart- 
ened Wavell and his staff, but we agree with you in thinking that it is a necessary pre- 
requisite to any thoroughly satisfactory line of communications to China. We hope that you 
will be successful in conquering the difficulties of the terrain and the dangers of malaria. 

W r hen I offered you this China mission I knew it would be a tough one but I confess I 
did not realize how very tough it would be; and I wish you to feel now my sympathy and 
congratulations for the surpassing fortitude, skill, and courage which you have shown in 
carrying through. I hope that the New Year will give you a full measure of success and the 
satisfaction that will go with it. 

Very sincerely your friend, 

Henry L. Stimson 2 

In private conversations with the Chinese immediately after the Gener- 
alissimo withdrew from the Burma operation, Stilwell adopted the tactics of 
indicating his extreme disappointment and of prophesying a radical change in 
U.S. public opinion unless the Chinese took immediate steps to make amends. 3 
Stilwell believed the Chinese very likely would try to compensate for their 
withdrawal and laid his plans accordingly: 

If I can report full cooperation on the first 30-division plan and a determination to use 
this force offensively, I will have a basis for demanding [from the War Department] the 
equipment for the second 30 divisions and additional personnel for training. If the delays 
experienced to date are to continue, then it is certainly not too early to start on the second 
group. These units would not have to be moved for some time. They could, however, be 
reorganized and groups of instructors sent out to them to begin their training. Much could 
be done without any new equipment— tactical training particularly— and a great deal of time 
could be saved. The economy and efficiency in a small, well-equipped, well-trained, mobile 
force compared with a large, ill-equipped, untrained, immobile one is obvious. With 60 
divisions in being, China will have nothing to fear from the Japs. 4 

Stilwell, therefore, drafted an agreement to be presented to the Chinese if 
they seemed willing to admit a desire to repair the damage that Stilwell 
expected the Generalissimo's action would have inflicted on Sino-American 
relations. He hewed to the line of his 27 December 1942 note to Soong and 
therefore included his now-familiar proposals for reorganization and concentra- 

2 Ltr, Stimson to Stilwell, 6 Jan 43. Stilwell Personal Papers. 

} CM-IN 5492, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Jan 43. This radio was relayed to Marshall, then at 
Casablanca. 

4 Note, in Stilwell's hand. SNF-55. Stilwell's papers in this folder are for January-February 
1943. It was Stilwell's custom to analyze his situation and prepare plans in advance of major 
discussions. It seems safe to date this note as January 1943. 



264 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



tion of the Chinese Army, service schools, and an efficient SOS. The text of the 
draft agreement read: 

1. At Ramgarh. a. Continue the combat training of the New 1st Army [22d and 38th 
divs.]. b. Augment the force by one division, c. Set up an armored force school, d. Set up a 
CWS school, e. Continue and amplify instruction in artillery, infantry weapons, motor trans- 
port, anti-aircraft, signal, engineer, medical, and QM branches. Organize six additional 
75-mm. pack howitzer battalions. Continue officers' school. 

2. At the base at Ledo. Prepare the base, with medical, motor transport, engineer, and 
supply facilities. Stock it. Work on the road. 

3. In Yunnan, a. Concentrate, re-organize, equip, and train the units to participate, b. Build 
up stocks of supplies, c. Establish in the Kunming area officers' schools for infantry, artillery, 
and air-ground liaison. Feed instructors from these schools to the armies in Yunnan, d. 
Thoroughly organize the SOS and all its services— engineer, medical, signal, motor transport, 
depots, etc. e. Repair and develop the Burma Road, and prepare the communications to the 
east. 

4. Elsewhere in China, a. Designate the units for the second 30 division plan. Begin 
re-organization. Send selected officers to the Kunming schools, b. Reorganize the Chinese 
Air Force. 5 

The proposed agreement had three significant new points. On 6 January 
Soong had formally asked on behalf of the Chinese Government that the 
United States assist in the reorganization, training, and future planning of the 
Chinese Air Force, with "quite a few [U.S. airmen} in order to stiffen the 
whole force," and for operations under Chennault's control. Stilwell therefore 
included this major point. The draft also invited attention to the importance of 
developing a line of communications from the terminus of the Burma Road to 
east China and made the important proposal that designation and reorganiza- 
tion of the second Thirty Divisions begin at once. 6 Obviously Stilwell felt the 
time had come to raise the major issue of a second Thirty Divisions. 

Completing his personal preparations for further talks with the Chinese, 
Stilwell listed every proposed step in detail for Marshall's approval, together 
with his prophecy of a great change in U.S. opinion. Marshall's complete ap- 
proval came at once on 16 January, and Stilwell prepared to resume discussions 
and await the opportune moment to give the proposed agreement to the 
Generalissimo. 7 

For their part, Soong and Chen Cheng continued the discussions with no 
indication that the Generalissimo's 8 January note represented a change in 
Chinese policy. The talks covered every aspect of the projected fall 1943 cam- 



5 Draft Memo, Stilwell for Soong, sub: Proposed Program In Case X-Y Opn Is Not Carried 
Out. SNF-55. There is no evidence that the memorandum was ever formally presented to the 
Chinese Foreign Minister to sign. Instead, its points were discussed with Soong, who recom- 
mended that they be laid before the Generalissimo. The Stilwell Papers, p. 184. 

6 (1) Soong's request on CAF and quotation in Memo, Dorn for Stilwell, 7 Jan 43. SNF-21. 
(2) Draft Memo rite H n *> 

7 (1)CM-IN cite j n. 3.| (2) Rad WAR 2010, Marshall to Stilwell, 16 Jan. 43. Item 169, Bk 1, 
JWS Personal File. 1 1 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



265 



paign, and StilwelPs staff had a study at hand for every major point. Soong 
asked for a list of "outstanding differences, misunderstandings, or difficulties," 
plus a detailed plan for Y-Force preparations. 8 He also promised to do some- 
thing about relieving Generals Tu Yu-ming and Ho Ying-chin. 9 Stilwell re- 
ported to Washington that he, General Ho, and the local representative of the 
Chinese supply agencies in Washington had agreed on a 1943 program to 
procure lend-lease for sixty Chinese divisions, on the basis of completing the 
equipment of the first thirty and initiating procurement for the second thirty. 
Within a few days Stilwell and his Chinese colleagues agreed that Chinese 
requests for 1943 lend-lease supplies would be presented to Stilwell for prior 
comment. 10 

By 24 January Chen was of the opinion that there were four matters left to 
be presented to the Generalissimo: (1) Was Chen to have complete authority 
over the Y-Force? (2) Did the Generalissimo intend to order immediate con- 
centration of the Y-Force and an immediate start on training? (3) When could 
the concentration be completed? (4) Was everything about the Chinese SOS 
settled? All other matters, said Chen, could be settled between him and Stilwell 
"as they were in complete agreement on all main points." 11 

Chen's questions cut to the heart of the matter, for in surveying his 
position on 20 January and listing an imposing series of his proposals that the 
Chinese had accepted in preparation for a Burma offensive, Stilwell noted: 
"BUT no action. Orders delayed and not obeyed. 3 armies exempted from amal- 
gamation. 8th, 93rd, 37th, and 74th not moved. Obstruction in getting schools. 
Chen Cheng absent [from Yunnan]. Money not appropriated. Lung Yun not 
controlled." 12 

The area of uncertainty was apparently well denned by Chen, for when a 
few days later Soong, Chen, and Stilwell met again it was agreed that some 
points were still unsettled, among them, the central one — when would the 
orders for the troops to move to Yunnan actually be issued? Chen's command 
status was still in doubt, but it may have seemed subordinate to the question 
of whether the Chinese Government would take action. 13 

The Soong-Chen discussions were one of the high points of StilwelPs 
Mission to China. StilwelPs mood was hopeful because Marshall and Stimson 

8 (1) Memo with Inch, Conf, Chen, Soong, and Stilwell, 24 Jan 43. SNF-151. (2) 7 he Stilwell 
Papers, p. 190. (3) Memo, Dorn for Stilwell, 15 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 
9 Stilwell B&W, 10, 11 Jan 43. 

10 (1) CM-IN 7220, Stilwell to AGWAR, 16 Jan 43. The principal items on the approved 
requisitions were 13,500 machine guns, 3,650 trench mortars, 360 75-mm. howitzers, 360 105-mm. 
howitzers, 96 15 5-mm. howitzers, 300 40-mm. antiaircraft guns, 120 90-mm. antiaircraft guns, 
20,000 submachine guns, 10,000 2]/ 2 -tor\ trucks, 10,000 ^-ton trucks, 35,000,000 rounds per 
month of 7.92-mm. ammunition, and appropriate amounts of spares for all items. (2) CM-IN 
14594, Stilwell to MAB, 31 Jan 43. 

11 Memo, Conf, Chen, Soong, and Stilwell, 24 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

12 Stilwell B&W, 20 Jan 43. 

1} (1) Stilwell B&W, 28 Jan 43. (2) Notes, sub: Essential Points Brought Out at Mtg of Soong, 
Stilwell, and Chen Cheng, Wednesday, 27 Jan 43. SNF-151. 



266 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



were supporting him strongly; Soong was co-operating closely, and Ho Ying- 
chin, while still a disturbing factor, seemed to be on the way out. Word that 
Madame Chiang needed Soong in Washington did not upset Stilwell. Pleased 
with Soong's help, Stilwell wrote him, "Mr. Stimson and General Marshall 
have been informed of the great assistance you have furnished me in carrying 
out my orders for the best and most efficient aid to China. Please accept my 
personal thanks for your service." 14 

Just before Soong's departure for Washington, Stilwell gave the Gener- 
alissimo the finished product of his discussions with Chen and Soong, and his 
exchange with Marshall, a memorandum dated 28 January 1943: 

This is our opportunity to equip and train a force that will make China strong and safe. 
The opportunity must be seized while the supply of weapons is available. If the first 30-Divi- 
sion Plan is carried out and the force used offensively, I will have a basis for demanding the 
equipment for another thirty divisions. I have already recommended the procurement of this 
materiel, and if a plan is produced to equip and train them, I can ask for instructors to assist 
in their training. 

I recommend that the program for the Y- Force be pushed ; that the concentration of the 
troops be expedited; that General Ch'en Ch'eng be relieved of all other duties at once; that 
any necessary changes in Armies for the Y-Force be made at once; that financial arrange- 
ments be authorized; and that the training program be approved. Also that the units of the 
second 30- Division Plan be designated; that their re-organization and re-equipping be started 
at an early date; and that a plan of training similar to that proposed for the first thirty 
divisions be adopted. 

If these things are done now, by next fall the first thirty divisions should be an efficient 
field force, and the second thirty divisions should be well advanced in tactical training. With 
a supply line open, both groups could be equipped promptly with their weapons, and from 
then on China would have nothing to fear from the Japanese. Without such a definite plan, 
there will be difficulty in continuing the present flow of supplies from the United States, let 
alone increasing it materially; as I am trying to do at present. 

To me this matter seems of such extreme importance to the future of China, that I bring 
it again to the attention of the Generalissimo, and hope that he will give it particular con- 
sideration. The Generalissimo may depend on all American personnel to exert their best 
efforts to make the program a success. 15 

Administrative Changes for U.S. Forces 

Presumably since no offensive would begin until fall 1943, thus allowing 
time for extended and elaborate preparations, Stilwell decided in early January 
to move toward an expanded American organization in CBI Theater. The 
original 1942 War Department concept had been of a mission, to reassure the 
Generalissimo of American support. In the next stage, so many projects accu- 
mulated that Stilwell formed a task force. Finally, in July 1942 Stilwell set up 
a theater headquarters. The bent of his thought, though, lay toward the concept 

14 Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 22 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 

15 Memo, Stilwell [Actg as CofS] for Generalissimo, 28 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover 
Library. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



267 



of an American Mission to China, which term he used to describe his organiza- 
tion in a memorandum to Soong on 3 January 1943. Indeed, the terms Ameri- 
can Mission and Stilwell Mission lingered for a long time in CBI. Late in January 
1943 Stilwell took the next hurdle and told his chief of staff that he was 
thinking of greater American activity organized on a basis that lent itself to 
expansion. General Hearn passed the word to Wheeler, telling him to submit 
requirements for an expanded SOS. 16 

American troop strength in CBI as of 31 December 1942 was: 17 



Type 


China 


India-Burma 


Total 




812 


9,664 


10,476 




152 


4,470 


4,622 




96 


298 


394 




195 


1,404 


1,599 




1,255 


15,836 


17,091 



Stilwell's force was thus about the size of an infantry division. 

Given the green light from Stilwell's headquarters, Wheeler began preparing 
to discuss his requirements with the Commanding General, Services of Supply 
(Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell), whose presence in CBI was expected shortly. 
Stilwell's action was timely, for according to a report from The Inspector Gen- 
eral, SOS in CBI was understaffed and undermanned. In order to permit the 
functioning of SOS offices, officers had been borrowed from troop units, Tenth 
Air Force, and Stilwell's headquarters. 18 

In contemplating greater American effort in CBI, Stilwell was no longer 
required to think of the airlift to China as his direct command responsibility. 
On 1 December 1942, the airlift had become part of the world-wide Air Trans- 
port Command (ATC). This step had been directed by the War Department 
in late October. In that month, Stilwell had set 5,000 tons per month over the 
Hump as the goal for February 1943 and had accepted the logistical require- 
ments of the target that Bissell and Stilwell's air officer, Lt. Col. Edward H. 
Alexander, stipulated in July 1942. At that time Washington officialdom had 
accepted seventy-five as the number of transports needed to reach the 5, 000- ton 
goal. 19 

l6 (l) Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 3 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Rad CH 9, 
Hearn to Wheeler, 22 Jan 43. Item 182, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

17 History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. XIII, Staff and Administration, G-3 Section. 

18 Ltr, Maj Gen Virgil L. Peterson, The Inspector General, to DCofS, 31 Dec 42. WDCSA 
(China), A4 5-466. 

19 (1) Ltr, Handy to Stilwell, 31 Oct 42, sub: Transfer of ICFC to the ATC, India-China Wing. 
Item 348, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) Rad Si 135, Bissell to 
Stilwell, 24 Nov 42; Rad 1460, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Nov 42. Items 116, 124, Bk 1, JWS 
Personal File. 



268 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Stilwell, Bissell, and Alexander stated that 5,000 tons a month meant 140 
aircraft (C^7 [DC-3]) on the Hump during good weather and 300 during the 
monsoon; 280 crews during the monsoon, and 234 at other times, plus spares 
and gasoline. In October 1942 Stilwell asked the War Department to provide 
these aircraft in time to hit the 5,000-ton goal by February. His next commu- 
nication from Marshall crossed this radio and was not in answer to it. 

Marshall's radio took the aircraft and men of the airline to China from 
StilwelPs command and placed the airline under the Air Transport Command. 
Henceforth, the airline to China was a semiautonomous organization within 
the CBI Theater, which theater headquarters had to support but which it could 
not command. Semiautonomous is an awkward word, but it seems to approach 
the realities of the situation more closely than to say ATC in CBI was actually 
independent of theater headquarters. Several factors made for this. Item, Stil- 
well was theater commander; if he expressed a wish, would ATC be politic to 
refuse? Item, ATC depended on Stilwell for its logistical support, and any wise 
commander stays on good terms with those from whom he draws his beans 
and bullets. Thus, when Stilwell learned that food and living conditions in one 
ATC mess were intolerable, he stepped in with direct orders to ATC to 
straighten up the place. ATC complied forthwith. 

Marshall explained that the step was taken because of accumulating evidence 
that the transports in India were not being used as well as were those of the 
ATC in other parts of the world. Marshall believed that diversion of aircraft 
from the Hump for intra-India transport might have a part in this. He reminded 
Stilwell of the heavy pressure from the White House to increase deliveries to 
China. 

OPD added its explanation, which was more technical but which mentioned 
one very pertinent point: that various activities had pre-empted supplies from 
the ATC on their way across the Atlantic and Africa to the Hump airfields. 
Now that the Hump was part of the ATC family, thought OPD, it might 
expect better treatment. Since half of the Hump transports, by Stilwell's own 
estimate, were grounded for lack of spares, the point was well taken. Stilwell 
protested the War Department's action on the ground that any lack of efficiency 
simply reflected a lack of spares, which could not be remedied by simply adding 
another agency to the already complex CBI picture. His protest was set aside, 
and India-China Wing, ATC, took over on 1 December 1942, with forty-four 
aircraft and 866 men at its disposal. 20 

20 (1) CM-IN 09036, Stilwell to Marshall, 20 Oct 42. (2) Rad WAR 87, Marshall to Stilwell, 
21 Oct 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. (3) CM-OUT 07429, OPD to Stilwell, 22 Oct 42. (4) 
MS, ICD ATC During General Stilwell's Command, Dec 42-Oct 44. History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. 
VI. (5) ATC delivered 5,390 tons in September 1943 with 228 aircraft. It must be noted that the 
new C-46 carried 4.35 tons per flight as against 2.5 tons for the old C-47 which Stilwell had 
contemplated using. Of these 228 aircraft, 101 were C-46's, so Stilwell's estimate was not far off. 
Analysis of Transport Opns in India-China Wing, 11 Oct 42, Analysis Sec, 16th Statistical Control 
Unit, MATS, OSD. Statistical Serv Div, Comptroller, Andrews Field, Washington. (6) Ltr, Merrill 
to Stilwell, 29 Jun 43. SNF-47. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



269 



The Arnold-Somervell-Dill Mission 

When the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed in August 1942 to lay Marshall's 
proposal for a Burma operation before their planners, in effect they placed 
Burma operations on their agenda. In retrospect, much of the difficulty which 
had attended the first attempt to plan a combined operation in Burma seems to 
be that the proposal to invade Burma in March 1943 was never an operation 
agreed on at the highest Allied levels. There was no CCS directive setting the 
scope and objectives of Anakim and binding Wavell and Stilwell to work in 
harmony. There was no JCS directive to Stilwell, who had to find support for 
his projects. As for the Chinese, they were outside the CCS machinery, and 
when the Generalissimo pledged himself to attack, he did so under circum- 
stances of which he was the sole judge. 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff were now firmly behind operations to break the 
blockade of China, and so an offensive in Burma was high on the agenda of the 
next great Anglo-American conference, that of Casablanca, 14-23 January 1943. 
In preparing to take part in the conference, the JCS listed among desirable 
operations for 1943 one in Burma to re-open the line of communications to 
China in order to obtain "bases essential to eventual offensive operations against 
Japan proper." Here was stated the strategic goal: staging areas and airfields in 
north China. 21 

The strategic picture in the Pacific war as of January 1943, and indeed for 
many long and weary months thereafter, lent a peculiar emphasis to the 
strategic advantages which might be won in China. Along the whole vast arc 
of the Pacific and the Bay of Bengal the outer defenses of the Japanese kept 
Allied sea and air power in those sectors far from Japan's vitals. The two 
campaigns then under way, in the Solomons and in New Guinea, were pro- 
ceeding slowly and were unsettled. Losses on both sides had been heavy and 
the Japanese had resisted with great determination. A major Japanese naval 
concentration just north of the Solomons suggested the Japanese might be 
preparing a major effort to decide the struggle for Guadalcanal. 

But the great arc of Japanese defenses was incomplete. There was nothing 
comparable to it in China. In China, the Chinese armies lay within a few days' 
march of such points as Hong Kong. From airstrips in China, Allied bombers 
could reach Japan itself. Other aircraft could harass the great shipping lane that 
connected Japan with the Netherlands Indies, and the oil fields there. In China, 
therefore, it was possible for the Allies to take action that would force the 
Japanese to fight in defense of Japan itself, rather than for some stinking jungle 
in the far Southwest Pacific. The prize was so obvious that the Americans 
strained eagerly after it. The differences among them were over the timing and 



21 CCS 135, 26 Dec 42, sub: Basic Strategic Concept for 1943. 



270 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



sequence of the several courses of action, rather than over the desirability of 
attacking Japan from China. 

As far as the Joint Chiefs of Staff were concerned, Admiral Ernest J. King 
expressed their view when he told the Combined Chiefs of Staff on 16 January: 

In the European theater, Russia was most advantageously placed for dealing with 
Germany in view of her geographical position and manpower; in the Pacific, China bore a 
similar relation to the Japanese. It should be our basic policy to provide the manpower 
resources of Russia and China with the necessary equipment to enable them to fight. 22 

With this view the War Department heartily agreed, and therefore Stilwell was 
sent to "increase the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army." 

To attack Japan from China on an effective scale required a very considerable 
establishment in China. Aircraft require spare parts, fuel, and ammunition, and 
ultimately replacements. Pilots become casualties or earn replacement. The 
airfields from which they operate must be guarded against a ground reaction 
by the enemy. Therefore, the professional service element in the American 
leadership conceived of a major effort to open an effective line of communica- 
tions into China at the end of which really considerable air power could be 
sustained. This major effort would be a great left hook to the Japanese jaw, 
which would then be softened up for the crushing straight right coming across 
the Pacific. 

In the course of the Casablanca Conference the Chief of Naval Operations, 
Admiral King, and General Marshall were most emphatic in expressing 
JCS support for Anakim. In effect serving notice on the British that the 
United States would not jeopardize its Pacific interests for anything less than 
complete Anglo-American concentration on an early and full-scale cross- 
Channel operation, Marshall on 17 January used strong language in arguing 
for Anakim: 

He said that he is most anxious to open the Burma Road, not so much for the morale 
effect on China as for the need to provide air support to China for operations against Japan 
and Japanese shipping. He said the expensive operations in which we are now engaged in 
the South Pacific react on everything else the United Nations attempt to do whether it be 
in the Mediterranean, the United Kingdom, or elsewhere. He discussed the situation in the 
Pacific as being so critical as to make it appear at one time that Operation Torch [occupa- 
tion of French North Africa] would have to be called off. He also stated that unless 
Operation Anakim could be undertaken, he felt that a situation might arise in the Pacific 
at any time that would necessitate the United States regretfully withdrawing from the 
commitments in the European theatre. 

General Marshall spoke of our commitments in the Pacific, of our responsibilities, with 
particular reference to the number of garrisons we have on small islands and the impossibility 
of letting any of them down. He insisted that the United States could not stand for another 
Bataan. He said that he is desirous of undertaking the Burma operation in order to reduce 
our hazards in the Pacific and thus undertake the campaign against Germany. 23 

22 Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: The Operations Division, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951), p. 334. 
2} Min, CCS 59th Mtg, 17 Jan 43. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



271 



The British Chiefs of Staff advanced the argument that if Anakim was 
undertaken at any time in the winter of 1943-1944 it would, because of its 
demands on landing craft for operations against the Andamans and Rangoon, 
seriously curtail the British share in any cross-Channel operations in spring 
1944. A compromise was indicated and was made possible by the U.S. Navy. 
Admiral King stated that he was willing to release U.S. landing craft from the 
South Pacific for operations in the Bay of Bengal. 24 

On the basis of the above, the CCS reached the Casablanca decisions 
regarding Anakim: 

(1) That all plans and preparations should be made to mount Anakim 
in 1943, target date 15 November; (2) that the actual decision to attack would 
be made by the CCS in summer 1943, not later than July; (3) that if Anakim 
was mounted in 1943, the United States would assist in making up deficiencies 
in landing craft and naval forces by diversion from the Pacific. 25 The resources 
committed to Burma and the Pacific, the CCS advised the President and Prime 
Minister, should be adequate to contain the Japanese and minimize the need 
of having to rush support there to meet an emergency, but not on a scale so 
large as to prevent seizing a sudden opportunity to defeat Germany in 1943. 
The purpose of operations in Burma was to keep China in the war, maintain 
pressure on the Japanese in that area, and establish and operate air power from 
Chinese bases on Japanese shipping in Chinese and Indochinese ports and on 
the flank of Japanese sea communications along the China coast. 26 

After examining the CCS report, the President and Prime Minister replied 
that they approved it and wished to emphasize four points: (1) The desirability 
of finding means of running convoys to Russia even during the forthcoming 
Sicilian campaign, and (2) "The urgency of sending air reinforcements to Gen- 
eral Chennault's forces in China and of finding personnel to make them fully 
operative." The third and fourth points bore on European matters. 27 

The Chinese had not been represented at Casablanca. Stilwell would have 
been pleased to see them in an institutionalized working relationship with the 
CCS. On 4 January he had suggested to Marshall that the CCS form a sub- 
committee for Pacific operations, with Chinese representation. This arrange- 
ment would place the Generalissimo in proper relation to the conduct of the 
war, for he would then operate on the Roosevelt-Churchill level. So situated, 
he might not be tempted to act as a field commander, directing campaigns 
from Chungking, while Stilwell would not have to play the diplomat to win 

24 (1) CCS 153/1, 17 Jan 43. (2) CCS 154, 17 Jan 43. (3) Min, CCS 60th Mtg, 18 Jan 43. 
(4) JCS Casablanca Min, pp. 23-24. 

25 (1) Min, CCS 60th Mtg, 18 Jan 43. (2) CCS 15 5/1, 19 Jan 43, sub: Conduct of War in 
1943. (3) Min, CCS 65th Mtg, 21 Jan 43. 

26 (1) CCS 170/2, 23 Jan 43, sub: Final Rpt to President and Prime Minister, Summarizing 
Decisions by CCS. (2) CCS 168, 22 Jan 43, sub: Conduct of War in Pacific Theater in 1943. (3) 
CCS 153, 17 Jan 43. 

27 Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), p. 693. 



272 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the Generalissimo's consent to decisions the latter must have regarded as so 
many fails accomplis. The proposal was not accepted by the JCS, 2a 

The diplomatic device adopted after Casablanca was to send an imposing 
delegation to Chungking to win the Generalissimo's adherence to the Casa- 
blanca proposals for Anakim, Its members were General Arnold, commanding 
the Army Air Forces and ex officio a member of the JCS; General Somervell, 
commanding the Services of Supply, and so the principal supply man in the 
American war machine; and Field Marshal Dill of the British Joint Staff Mis- 
sion, to represent the Commonwealth's great stake in Anakim. Before he left 
Casablanca, Arnold indicated to Hopkins his skepticism about the CCS 
decisions on Anakim and his support for Chennault: 

Arnold feels chat in spite of the plan to open the Burma Road which has been agreed 
upon here, he is very doubtful that this will be done, and thinks that the only intelligent 
move immediately is to strengthen Chennault's air force and get at the bombing of Japan 
as soon as possible. Arnold tells me that he cannot tell exactly how this can be done until 
he goes to China after this conference is over. He is sure, however, that it can be accom- 
plished. He tells me that General Bissell, the Air Force commander in India, is very 
antagonistic to Chennault and that that complicates Chennault's supply line. Arnold is very 
confident, however, thar the whole business can be worked out. 39 

Arnold, Somervell, and Dill with their staffs flew to New Delhi to confer 
there with representatives of Wavell's and Stilwell's staffs. Arnold had with 
him good news for China Theater: by 1 April 137 transports would be present 
in the CBI Theater, of which 124 aircraft were for the Hump, and the 508th 
Bomb Group (B-24) was coming to India. 50 The purpose of the gathering 
was to prepare a detailed proposal for Burma operations based on the Casa- 
blanca decisions. The proposal could then be submitted to the Generalissimo. 
Since the actual decision to invade would be made later by higher authority, 
the conferees had no power to bind their governments and kept the record 
straight by reaching a decision without commitments. 

The command problem was attacked by proposing that Wavell command 
both the British forces and the Chinese Army in India until such time as Stil- 
well's Chinese met the Chinese from Yunnan. The Y-Force was to be com- 
manded by the Generalissimo, who would assume command of all Chinese 
as soon as they made their juncture in north Burma. The post of deputy com- 
mander of operations based on India was reserved for an American. Another 
American was to command air operations, with a British deputy. Stilwell was 
not too pleased with the command proposal, for he feared that the deputy 

28 ( 1 ) CM-IN 1446, Stilwell to Marshall, 4 Jan 43. (2) CM-OUT 9105, Marshall to Stilwell, 
27 Dec 42, 

:5h (l) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. (581-82, (2) Somervell became Commanding 
Genera), Army Service Forces, on 12 March 1943. 

>6 (1) Memo, Col Horace W. Shelmire, Arnold Mission to China^ for Arnold, 6 Feb 43, sub: 
Logistical Situation in Kunming, China, re CATF. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Lti, Arnold to Stilwell, 
7 Feb 43. Folder 1 (GMO CKS), Item 58, OPD Exec 10. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



273 




CONFERENCE AT NEW DELHI, INDIA . Left to right, Field Marshal Sir 
Archibald P. Wavell, Lt. Gens. Stilwell, Henry H. Arnold, Brehon B. Somervell, and 
Field Marshal Sir John Dill. 

ground force commander, a post likely to be his, would have only nominal 
powers. 31 

The consensus as to operations was that it was essential to take Burma in 
the period November 1943-May 1944. The preliminaries would include a sub- 
marine blockade of Rangoon, Chinese attempts to seize favorable jump-off 
positions in Yunnan, limited operations based on Ledo to cover the advance 
of the Ledo Road, an advance by two Indian divisions from Imphal to secure 
bridgeheads over the Chindwin, and the capture of Akyab and Ramree. In 
November 1943 a major effort would begin, with eleven Chinese divisions 
driving from Yunnan, the Ledo advance would become a two-division effort, 
and three Indian divisions would drive from Kalewa toward Mandalay. Land- 
ing operations at Taungup, Sandoway, and Bassein would follow in December, 
and in January 1944 would come the climax, direct assault on Rangoon. 32 

31 Arnold quotes Stilwell to that effect in CM-IN 1641, 4 Feb 43. 

32 (1) CM-IN 70, Arnold to Marshall, 1 Feb 43. (2) CM-IN 1641, Arnold to Marshall, 4 Feb 
43. (3) CM-IN 2033, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 4 Feb 43. 



274 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



At the conferences, remarks by Bissell and Arnold illuminated the purpose 
of Burma operations. General Bissell said that all efforts should be looked at 
in the light of their contribution to the main purpose, which must be to get 
supplies to General Chennault, and thus make possible a direct attack from 
China on Japan and Japanese shipping and bases. General Arnold confirmed 
that it was with this end in view, and also to avoid a prolonged advance from 
island to island in the Pacific, that the Burma plan had been given priority; 
and he felt that it was now only necessary to state clearly what was required 
for the resources to be made available. 33 

The Conferences in Chungking and Calcutta 

While Somervell remained in India to discuss CBI supply problems with 
Wheeler, Arnold and Dill went to Chungking to present the proposed opera- 
tions to the Generalissimo. With him Arnold brought a personal letter from 
the President to the Generalissimo, which promised that something would be 
done about more U.S. aircraft for China Theater. This was very gratifying to 
the Generalissimo. 34 

The Generalissimo had good cause for wanting more American air power 
in his theater. He had become quite impatient over the lack of promised trans- 
ports on the Hump. He had brought this to the President's attention in an 
increasing number of messages since the October 1942 answer to the Three 
Demands. Moreover, the Generalissimo faced varied excuses from his Chinese 
Air Force for not conducting their portion of the China Air War Plan. 35 Dur- 
ing the past six months, thanks to weather, the Chinese Air Force was relieved 
of the responsibility of defending Chungking. But during the same period 
neglect and incompetence had ruined the bulk of its lend-lease aircraft. The 
Chinese Air Force had failed in its training program and failed to carry out the 
Generalissimo's paper reforms. Chennault reported that the Chinese Air Force 
objected to operational control by a foreigner and flatly rejected advice to pre- 
pare for the day when the Japanese would return over Chungking with the 
fine spring weather. 

In January Chennault was inquiring if the China Air Task Force was 
responsible for Chungking's defense. It must be surmised that he was fully 
aware of the deplorable state of the Chinese Air Force and would naturally 
conclude that the Generalissimo would demand protection for his capital when 
the bombers returned. And, since in March 1943 the Chinese Air Force for- 
mally informed Stilwell's headquarters that it could not defend Chungking, 
it may be assumed that in February the Generalissimo was aware that he would 

33 COS Com, India Comd, USB/7, 1 Feb 43; Min, First American- British Conf, 1 Feb 43. 
History of CBI, Sec. Ill, Ch. VII, Arnold-Somervell-Dill Mission. 

34 H pnrv H A mnlH Global Mission (New York, 1949), p. 419. 

35 Set | Ch. V, fr bove. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



275 



have to provide some sort of protection for Chungking. Only a reinforced 
China Air Task Force could assume the mission. This meant the end of the 
China Air War Plan. Again, the demands on Hump tonnage that would be 
made by protecting Chungking with U.S. resources could not fail to affect 
plans to develop the Y-Force. 36 

In discussions with Arnold and Dill the Generalissimo again and again 
demanded more Hump tonnage, and at once; insisted that Chennault be inde- 
pendent of Stilwell; demanded that Bissell be recalled; and insisted that U.S. 
aircraft in great number be sent at once to China, without regard to the ques- 
tions of ground establishment and gasoline supply. Arnold wrote, "The Gen- 
eralissimo and Chennault glossed over these things with a wave of their hands. 
They could not, or would not, be bothered with logistics." 37 Arnold reported 
to Marshall that supply problems made a separate air force in China imprac- 
tical. Inspection had confirmed Stilwell's view that Chennault did not exercise 
the administrative and executive control of his force necessary to warrant its 
independence. 38 

The Generalissimo finally approved the Anakim operation on 6 February, 
and a banquet followed to mark the event. After dinner the Chinese again 
raised the question of immediately increasing the amount of tonnage being 
flown into China, and Arnold was again called on to explain and defend the 
ATC's performance. The next day Arnold was summoned for a private audi- 
ence with the Generalissimo. The Chinese leader told him bluntly that the 
conferences had been a failure. The Generalissimo had asked for many things, 
and all he had received were excuses. Then the Chinese presented to Arnold 
for approval by the President an enlarged version of the Three Demands of 
June 1942, accompanied by hints of a separate peace. The Generalissimo now 
demanded: (a) an independent air force for China Theater, (b) ten thousand 
tons a month over the Hump, (c) five hundred aircraft in China by November 
1943. 

Arnold's answer was a blend of tact and firmness, for he had not been 
impressed by the Generalissimo as a soldier. Pointing out that he had already 
presented the Generalissimo with proposals to rebuild the Chinese Air Force 
which the Chinese leader had apparently failed to consider, Arnold added that 

36 (1) CM-IN 1449, Chiang to Roosevelt, 24 Nov 42. (2) Rad AMMISCA 1769, Roosevelt to 
Chiang, 2 Dec 42. Item 132, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (3) CM-IN 12657, Chiang to Roosevelt, 
28 Dec 42. (4) Rpt of Visit to Cheng-tu, CAF Hq, 1 Nov 42-1 Feb 43, by Mr. Kenneth M. 
Warder, Vultee Service Representative, to Stilwell, 1 Feb 43. Tate Folder (Nov 42-Jun 43), CT 40, 
Dr 3, KCRC. As a factory agent Mr. Warder made a routine survey of lend-lease aircraft at 
Cheng-tu. This report gives many examples of the way in which the Chinese misused U.S. technical 
equipment. (5) Memo, Chennault for Stilwell, 21 Jan 43. Folder, CAF Corresp (Mar-Jul 43), CT 
23, Dr 2, KCRC. (6) Memo, Chennault for Stilwell, 22 Jan 43, sub: Employment of AAF Units 
at Chungking- 1943. Item 9, Contracts with the Chinese (Jan-Jul 1943), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 
See attchd Inds and Ltrs, Chou Chih-jou, Dir of Commission of Aeronautical Affairs, to Stilwell. 
On 19 March 1943 Chou stated that the Chinese Air Force could no longer defend Chungking and 
called on the United States for air support. 

37 Arnold, Global Mission, p. 419. 

38 CM-IN 2040, Arnold to Marshall, 5 Feb 43. 



276 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



he was trying to increase the tonnage delivered to China, had given the neces- 
sary orders, but could not promise 10,000 tons by a fixed date because too many 
factors not under Arnold's control were involved. Tactfully, Arnold thus 
sought to persuade the Generalissimo that measures to satisfy his demands 
were under way and firmly told the Chinese leader that the principal question 
was whether or not China would join in efforts to retake Burma. 

A full dress meeting of the Allied leaders was then convened. At its close 
the Generalissimo's summary of the meeting's results was so equivocal that 
Stilwell, still with no answer to his 28 January memorandum, asked him point- 
blank if China would join in an attempt to retake Burma. The Generalissimo 
said yes, and confirmed it in a letter to the President: "Finally, I wish to assure 
you that in the combined plan of operation for the Burma Campaign which 
was prepared after joint consultation, the Chinese Army will be in readiness to 
perform its assigned task at the specified time without fail." 39 

From Chungking the discussions moved to Calcutta on 9 February "to 
ensure that the decisions reached at Casablanca and Chungking should be 
perfectly clear to all concerned." 40 Present for China were Soong and Ho; for 
the United States, Arnold, Somervell, Bissell, and Stilwell; for the British 
Commonwealth, Dill and Wavell. 

Invited to describe China's share in the offensive, Ho said that with a grand 
total of over 100,000 men the Chinese would make three main thrusts toward 
Myitkyina and Bhamo with seven divisions, and two subsidiary thrusts toward 
Lashio and Kengtung. If all went well, these would join with Stilwell's Ledo 
force, and the two subsidiary thrusts would head for Mandalay. Though Ho 
did not want to set a definite date for this offensive, he promised China would 
be ready to attack when the monsoon was over. The Chinese agreed with 
Stilwell that by late October 1943 the Yunnan roads would be dry enough. 

Wavell said he would advance from the Chindwin with three divisions 
(45,000 men) to join the Chinese at Mandalay, plus one division in close 
support, another in the Arakan, and five divisions in general reserve. 

The conference attempted to assay the potential Japanese opposition, which 
Wavell set at eight divisions, and Ho at ten. The discussion of Japanese air 
strength produced a varied reaction with Wavell suggesting 350 Japanese air- 
craft possible; the Chinese, 750. From talk of Japanese air strength the discus- 
sion turned to the Generalissimo's demand for 10,000 tons a month over the 
Hump by fall. Stilwell observed this would require additional facilities at both 
ends of the line. The Chinese, he said, could construct theirs; would the British 
be able to match them? It would involve not just additional airfields, but 
increased road, rail, and river capacity. 

}9 (1) Arnold, Global Mission, Ch. 23. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 196. (3) Ltr, Chiang to 
Roosevelt, 7 Feb 43. Folder 1 (GMO CKS), Item 58, OPD Exec 10. 

40 Wavell's remark, Min, COS Com, India Comd, Chinese-British-American Conf, 9 Feb 43. 
Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



277 



Wavell replied that he had not had time for a staff study of the problem, 
that his own troops were also dependent on the same line of communications 
that supported the airlift to China. However, he was confident that the line of 
communications could bring as much to the airfields as the aircraft could carry 
forward. The conference then moved to its conclusion: "Field Marshal Wavell 
summed up by saying that all were in agreement, and it remained only for all to 
press on with the greatest possible energy their preparations to start the battle 
immediately after the monsoon." 41 

The President Overrules Marshall and Stilwell 

The Generalissimo's pledge to take part in Burma operations was the last 
paragraph of his letter to the President on 7 February 1943, the balance of which 
was devoted to the enlarged version of the Three Demands that he gave to 
Arnold in Chungking. 42 The letter, though, made no threats of a separate peace 
for China. That the President inclined toward Chennault's and the General- 
issimo's viewpoint had become apparent in December. In that month he had 
suggested Chennault be given a task force of 100 aircraft with which to attack 
Japanese shipping and that he be made independent of Stilwell. Marshall 
objected because Chennault's mission was to support the then forthcoming 
offensive in Burma, so that if the aircraft were available they too should be used 
there. The success of the Burma offensive, Marshall told Roosevelt, was the 
absolute and essential prerequisite for expansion of air operations in China, for 
not until an adequate line of communications had been opened could the air 
effort be expanded to the maximum. 43 

Arnold at that time considered the proposal to make Chennault an inde- 
pendent air force commander premature, but he did urge that the principle be 
accepted. The President hinted to Leahy that this was his wish and at Casablanca 
revealed his desire to double the strength of Chennault's task force and with it 
to bomb Japan proper "for psychological reasons." 44 

Weighing the indications from White House circles— the President desired 
Chennault independent, Hopkins was Chennault's strong backer, and Currie 
wanted StilwelPs recall — Marshall told Stilwell candidly that the problem in 
Washington had been to support Stilwell against constant pressure from almost 
everyone interested in China, pressure further increased by a press campaign, to 
accept the Chennault viewpoint. He wrote, "While such factors are not included 
in the course at Leavenworth they are pertinent to the conduct of operations 

41 Min citedhi^Oj 

42 Ltr cite d n. 33^71 

43 (1) Memo, Leahy lor Marshall, 30 Dec 42. WDCSA 381 China (12-30-42), A46-523. (2) 
Memo, Marshall for Leahy, 4 Jan 43, sub: Chennault. Item 64, OPD Exec 10. 

44 (1) Memo, Arnold for Marshall, 6 Jan 43, sub: Establishment and Asgmt of Mission to 
Separate Air Force in China; Memo, McNarney for Arnold, 18 Jan 43, sub: Separate Air Force in 
China. WDCSA 381 China, A46-523. (2) JCS Casablanca Min, p. 56. 



278 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



and particularly so in your theater." 45 To everyone's surprise, Marshall went 
on, Stilwell had attained most of his goals with the Chinese. Chennault, then, 
might wisely be given his chance. Stilwell agreed amiably enough and stated 
that he was willing to be benched, as he put it, if at any time the pressure grew 
too heavy. It was always, he continued, his secret ambition to be a sergeant in 
a machine gun company. 46 

Then the Generalissimo's 7 February letter arrived in Washington with its 
requests, accompanied by a letter from Stilwell expounding again his quid pro 
quo or bargaining thesis. As he sent Stilwell's letter on to the President, 
Marshall might have recalled that a few weeks before he, Marshall, had ap- 
proved Stilwell's telling the Chinese that the United States would resent the 
Generalissimo's failure to cross the Salween in spring 1943, that China must 
show signs of seriously intending to pull her weight in the struggle. 

Stilwell wrote: 

Arnold's and Somervell's trip has been very helpful. I am particularly pleased that Arnold 
had a look at the machinery of Chinese government and a glimpse of the personalities we 
have to deal with. 

We are grateful for your assistance [the B-24's and transports], even if the Chinese are 
not. Chiang Kai-shek has been very irritable and hard to handle, upping his demands no 
matter what is given him, and this attitude will continue until he is talked to in sterner 
tones. For everything we do for him we should exact a commitment from him. 

The next paragraph gave some details of progress on the Y-Force and concluded: 

In general, unless other blocks develop, we will get some much-needed training done on 
the Yunnan force, in time to make it capable of a serious effort, (I hope, I hope). 47 

The issue (Marshall and Stilwell versus the Generalissimo and Chennault) 
was now before the President for action. His decision was to back the General- 
issimo and Chennault. The President directed preparation of a radio to the 
Generalissimo stating that Chennault would be placed in command of his own 
air force, the Fourteenth; that this air force would be built up to 500 aircraft 
as rapidly as Chennault believed he could support them in China; that as facili- 
ties improved, the ATC would be built up until 10,000 tons a month were being 
flown into China. At this point the President acknowledged the views of his 
service advisers by telling the Chinese that the ATC could never bring in 
enough, that a road would have to be built. Nor did he accept the General- 
issimo's request for a renovated Chinese Air Force supported by 5,000 tons a 
month. He did suggest Arnold's more cautious plan to rebuild the Chinese Air 
Force one squadron at a time as pilots and aircraft were available. Marshall on 
19 February gave Stilwell advance notice of the radio to the Generalissimo. 

45 Rad WAR 1955, Marshall to Stilwell, 5 Jan 43. Item 159, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

46 Football phraseology was freely used by Stilwell in his communications. He was once quarter- 
back of the West Point varsity and distinguished himself against a powerful team from the 
University of Chicago. Rad 25, Stilwell to Marshall, 8 Jan 43. Item 160, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

47 Memo, Marshall for President, 18 Feb 43. WDCSA 381 China (2-18-43), A46-523. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



279 



Stilwell was directed to set up a separate air force for Chennault, the Fourteenth. 
Stilwell's superiors now contemplated that Chennault was to receive 1,500 tons 
a month of the 4,000 which the 124 transports were to bring over the Hump 
by the end of March 1943. 48 

To Marshall, Roosevelt explained his dismissal of the War Department's 
approach to the strategic problems of China Theater. In his explanation the 
President explicitly rejected the bargaining or quid pro quo technique of working 
with the Chinese, displayed a lack of interest in Stilwell's mission of reforming 
the Chinese Army, and referred to Stilwell's projects as nothing more than 
local preparations for a Burma campaign. The letter closed with the good- 
natured reminder that he had overruled the military before and now thought 
he had been right in doing so. 

Thank you for letting me see the copy of Stilwell's letter of February ninth in regard to 
Arnold's and Somervell's trip. I have read this letter with a good deal of care and my first 
thought is that Stilwell has exactly the wrong approach in dealing with Generalissimo 
Chiang who, after all, cannot be expected, as a Chinese, to use the same methods that we do. 
"When Stilwell speaks about the fact that the Generalissimo is very irritable and hard to 
handle, upping his demands, etc., he is, of course, correct; but when he speaks of talking 
to him in sterner tones, he goes about it just the wrong way. 

All of us must remember that the Generalissimo came up the hard way to become the 
undisputed leader of four hundred million people— an enormously difficult job to attain any 
kind of unity from a diverse group of all kinds of leaders— military men, educators, scientists, 
public health people, engineers, all of them struggling for power and mastery, local or 
national, and to create in a very short time throughout China what it took us a couple of 
centuries to attain. 

Besides that the Generalissimo finds it necessary to maintain his position of supremacy. 
You and I would do the same thing under the circumstances. He is the Chief Executive as 
well as the Commander-in-Chief, and one cannot speak sternly to a man like that or exact 
commitments from him the way we might do from the Sultan of Morocco. 

The other matter relates to the complete omission by Stilwell of any mention of air 
action in China in 1943. He is thinking of the Burma end of things and he is thinking of the 
ground forces now being trained in China. 

While I am hopeful of the Burma operation, I still believe that important emphasis 
[should?] be placed on the strategic value of Chennault's air operations in 1943. I am 
glad to see it being pushed. 

I know you will see that the directives sent to Stilwell and Chennault are so clear about 
our air plans that there will be no misunderstanding of our intentions. 

It is essential that Chennault get his share of the supplies, and I believe he should get all 
above 4,000 tons a month until he gets an amount that will really keep his force operating. 
I understand from Arnold that is something over 2,500 tons a month on an all-out basis. 

The construction and improvement of airfields both in India and China should be pushed 
to the limit. 

I am assuming that the big bomber group now en route will be directly under Chennault's 
command. 

48 (1) Ltr cite d n. 39^71 (2) Memo, Comdr William L. Freseman for Maj Gen William R. 
Deane, 6 Mar 43; Ltr, Arnofd to Stilwell, 7 Feb 43. Folder 1 (GMO CKS), Item 58, OPD Exec 
10. (3) Rad WAR 2170, Marshall to Stilwell, 19 Feb 43; Rad SVC 395, Roosevelt to Chiang, 8 
Mar 43. Items 212, 239, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (4) Memo, Marshall for President, 22 Feb 43, 
sub: Chinese Theater. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 



280 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Of more importance is the assurance— the air policy having been fixed in China— that 
Chennault, with Stilwell's approval, will have complete control over his operations and 
tactics. 

While I am sure the relationship of Stilwell and the Generalissimo has improved, I hope 
nothing will be done to prevent Chennault from discussing air operations with the Chinese 
in an appropriate manner. 

Our relations with China are important and I wish you would impress on Stilwell and 
Chennault that they are our representatives over there in more senses than one. Compatible 
with their military duties, they may well turn out to be the best "Ambassadors" we have in 
China. I hope they will. 

Above all, I am depending on you to see that Chennault gets his chance to do what he 
believes he can do. 

I do not think that the Staff plans either in Casablanca or here have given sufficient 
weight to the attrition against Japan each week and each month, or that that attrition can 
be greatly accelerated through increasing air power in China, by the sinking of Japanese 
ships off the coast of China, the destruction of Japanese aircraft, and the occasional bombing 
of Japanese cities. 

Just between ourselves, if I had not considered the European and African fields of action 
in their broadest geographic sense, you and I know we would not be in North Africa today— 
in fact, we would not have landed either in Africa or in Europe! 49 

In answering the President, Marshall raised the principal War Department 
objection to the timing of Chennault's proposals. It was the argument with 
which the War Department always replied to Chennault and his adherents. 
Marshall warned that as soon as Chennault's effort stung the Japanese they 
would retaliate by attacking Chennault's airfields with their Army. Such an 
attack would have to be met by the Chinese Army, still untrained and without 
lend-lease arms. He also warned the President that many influential Chinese 
wanted the United States to fight China's battles for her. 

I have given a careful reading to your private memorandum of March 8th regarding the 
relations between the Generalissimo and Stilwell. I should like your permission to quote to 
him [Stilwell] the second and third paragraphs of your memorandum, omitting the direct 
reference to the Sultan of Morocco (memorandum is attached). 

As to the air phase of the matter, Stilwell is cognizant of our planned air effort out of 
China which will take place immediately upon the establishment of bases. I will further 
impress upon him to assist Chennault to the maximum, giving Chennault wide latitude in 
his operations. In this connection, the planes of the heavy bombardment group have already 
arrived in India; the ground crews will be there in about three weeks. 

The supply problem, affecting air operations from China in 1943, is a tremendous one. 
Chennault requires help in his logistical planning. To this end, we are sending General 
Glenn this weekend to be Chennault's Chief of Staff, with General Haddon as his Service 
Commander, together with a selected staff. 

However, the problem which we will face later in continuous air operations is ground 
protection for the China airdromes we use, as well as for the air freight route. We must build 
for that now. Here is the most serious consideration [Marshall's italics]: as soon as our air effort 
hurts the Japs, they will move in on us, not only in the air but also on the ground. The air 
situation Chennault can take care of with his fighters, but the ground effort against our bases 

49 Ltr, President to Marshall, 8 Mar 43. Item 54, OPD Exec 10. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



281 



must be met by men on the ground. Our "bomb Tokyo" bases in Chekiang Province have 
been destroyed as a result of Japanese ground action. These fields have not been repaired. 

The present Japanese advance into north Burma, although not yet in strength, probably 
has for its purpose the capture of the air warning stations protecting our Assam Air Freight 
Terminal. One station has already been forced to retire. Stilwell has just ordered a second 
Chinese regiment from Ramgarh to oppose this Jap move. 

The size of an air force that can operate from China is limited by the means that can be 
made available to Stilwell from the U.S. On the other hand, ground protection for our 
airdromes in China and the terminals of the air transport route must come from the Chinese 
Army. 

General Stilwell, realizing this, has concentrated on his local problem of creating depend- 
able units in the Chinese Army. His approach to this problem has been fundamentally 
sound; namely, to assemble into a field force selected units, officered by selected leaders; this 
force to be equipped with U.S. equipment and trained sufficiently to place dependence on 
them in combat. 

Stilwell has had marked success in assembling a few units (Ramgarh Project) with 
selected leaders. However, he has met with considerable obstruction and delay in concentrat- 
ing a larger force in Yunnan. Although recent reports indicate progress is being made, it 
will be an up-hill fight all the way. It is firmly established that Ho Ying-chin embodies a 
school of thought now existing in the Chinese Army, that a military "watch and wait" policy 
should be followed. This is manifested by constantly emphasizing a U.S. air effort against 
the Japs from China as a substitute for creating and training the necessary Chinese ground 
forces to make such air effort effective by opening a ground route of communications 
through Burma. 

The comparatively small air effort possible from China in 1943, although of great strategic 
value, can be only a beginning. With a land supply route through Burma and dependable 
forces to secure our air bases in China, we can increase our air action against the Japs and 
really hurt them. 

This means Burma must be recaptured. The part contemplated for the Chinese forces in 
this offensive is extremely important and the time remaining for their preparation is all too 
short. Accordingly, delay in organization and concentration for training is a serious obstacle 
to overcome. 

At every turn General Stilwell has been faced with the "let the other fellow do it" 
attitude on the part of the Chinese leaders. This attitude, combined with the present low 
combat worth of the Chinese Army, must be reversed before we can fully realize the Chinese 
potential in this war. To correct this must be the primary objective of any representative 
dispatched to this theater to represent American interests. 

General Stilwell has no doubt talked very plainly to the Generalissimo on many of these 
points in order to secure his assistance in creating conditions where our help would be effec- 
tive against the Japanese. In doing this, there have been times when he has incurred the 
displeasure of the Generalissimo. This is unfortunate. However, I do not know of any other 
officer in our Army who combines Stilwell's knowledge of the Chinese and their language 
with his ability as a soldier and as an organizer. He is tough, but only such a man would 
have survived the Burma campaign, battered down British-Indian sluggish resistance to all 
our plans and made some headway with reorganization of the Chinese Forces. Conditions 
must be created in China and a land route established to make an all-out air effort continuous 
and effective. 

I am confident that the relationship between Stilwell and Chennault is such that 
Chennault will be given every opportunity to use his uncanny skill in the air against the Japs 
(see attached message). 

Stilwell radioed me yesterday the following from Kunming: 



282 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Chen Cheng is here and I am sticking to him to get a headquarters set-up established. He 
is our best bet and present indications are that he will go along with us. I hope to open 
Infantry and Artillery Training Centers here (Kunming) by end of month. Soong's remark 
about threat on several fronts is nonsense. Japs arc foraging near Shasi [western Hupeb], 
elsewhere there is no activity. Generalissimo is entirely unconcerned about threats on any 
front. 

Chungking cannot or will not enforce its orders in this area [Yunnan]. Our presence 
threatens to affect the enormous smuggling racket here, and you may expect a campaign of 
vilification against me personally. I have already been accused of bad faith for keeping 
military supplies from racketeers. The continued publication of Chungking propaganda in 
the United States is an increasing handicap to my work. Utterly false impression has been 
creared in United States public opinion. Army is generally in desperate condition, underfed, 
unpaid, untrained, neglected, and rotten with corruption. We can puli rhem out of rhis 
cesspool, but continued concessions have made the Generalissimo believe he has only to 
insist and we will yield. 

If we can train and equip the Yunnan force, we can save the situation, but I may have to 
call for backing in case a showdown is necessary. You may think a year of this has had its 
effect on me. My opinion of the Chinese soldier and the Chinese people is unchanged. It is 
the gang of Army "leaders" that is the cause of all our grief. With best wishes and hoping 
for a better picture soon. i0 

On rhc same day that Marshall gave the President his comments on the 
Chennault Plan the Chief of Staff approved the award toStilwellof the Legion 
of Merit in the degree of Chief Commander. In suggesting to General Marshall 
on 16 February 1943 that the Distinguished Service Medal be given Stilwell, 
Brig. Gen. Albert C Wedemeyer of OPD had remarked: "General Stilwell, 
according to my personal observation, understands the situation in China- 
Burma-India Theater better than any of our allies. Nothing should be left 
undone to convince China that Gen. Stilwell enjoys full American confidence 
and that we look to him, in matters of importance concerning China, as the 
chief arbiter." The Operations Division concurred, but suggested the Legion of 
Merit as Stilwell already had the Distinguished Service Medal. As head of 
OPD } General Handy wrote to Marshall: "General Stilweli's constancy of 
purpose has been unfaltering, and events are proving the soundness of his 
judgment and the effectiveness of his forceful character." yi 

As General Marshall told Roosevelt, he sent the pertinent passages of the 
President's letter to Stilwell, who interpreted them as a Presidential rebuke. * 2 
But the message was more than simply a rebuke; it was repudiation without 
recall. Since 1941 the senior American officers in China — first Magruder, then 
Stilwell— had worked out the bargaining or quid pro quo approach to China's 

™( 1 ) Memo, Marshall for President, 16 Mar 43, sub: Your Note to Me of March 8th re China. 
WDCSA 381 China (3-16-43), A46-523, (2) Rad 345, Stilwell to Marshall, 15 Mar 43. Item 
26l, Bk l, JWS Personal File. 

5,1 Memo, Handy for Marshall, 18 Feb 43, sub: Proposed Award of Legion of Merit (degree of 
Chief Comdr) to Lt Gen Joseph W, Stilwell. OPD 201.5 2, WDCSA 201 (S). Marshall's sump of 
approval is dated 16 March. 

"(1) Rad WAR 237 3, Marshall to Stilwell, 27 Mar 43. Item 278, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 
(2) Stilwell B#W, 19 Apr 43- 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



283 



problems. Marshall and Stimson had approved it. Now the President an- 
nounced that they had exactly the wrong approach. Without the President's 
support, Stilwell could not negotiate with the Generalissimo, and for about the 
next twelve months Stilwell was painfully aware that his position as Chief of 
Staff, China Theater, was largely formal. 

After the war, as he looked back on the great argument over air power 
versus reform of the Chinese Army, the Army's Chief of Staff, General 
Marshall, commented that subsequent events had proved Stilwell to be right, 
but unfortunately much too outspoken and tactless. On still another occasion 
he observed that Stilwell had scorned attempts to counter the backstairs 
influence so damaging to his cause at the White House. 53 

After April 1943 Stilwell's exchange of memoranda and conferences with 
key Chinese officials dwindled sharply. Chennault was to have his chance, and 
results would speak for themselves. In seeking these results, Chennault would 
be under a handicap not apparent at first, for the President and Hopkins had 
been influenced by enthusiastic private letters from China. Chennault would 
have difficulty living up to the promises made for him. 54 

Moving Toward an Expanded Air Effort in China 

Henceforth, preparations in China proceeded in two separate and often con- 
flicting areas. Chennault worked to increase his air force and fly more missions 
with it. Stilwell sought to reform the Chinese Army and prepare for a campaign 
in Burma. Preparations for a greater air effort and a campaign in Burma each 
required Hump tonnage, and there Stilwell and Chennault began to clash ever 
more strongly in March and April 1943. Their differences revolved around a 
fractional number, one fourth of the Hump tonnage entering China, for each 
desired fiv e eighths of Hump tonnage in any one month for his project. 
I ( Chart 6)1 Clashes between the two men over command and policy continued. 

On 22 February Chennault presented a revised version of his plan to Stilwell, 
asking a little more in means and omitting the sweeping claims of the letter to 
Willkie. He stated that the Arnold-Somervell-Dill mission and Madame 
Chiang's appearance before Congress had probably warned the Japanese of 
forthcoming Allied offensive action, and that the Japanese were about to launch 
a major offensive to clear the Canton-Hong Kong line, drive the Chinese from 
the area between Nanchang and Changsha, and perhaps even go on to Wuchow 
and Kweilin, where lay some of the key east China airfields. 

Could such a massive Japanese drive be stopped? Chennault stated: "It is 
believed that the Japanese cannot obtain their military objectives if opposed by 

5J (1) Statement, Marshall to Robert E. Sherwood, 23 Jul 47. Sherwood interviewed Marshall 
while writing Roosevelt and Hopkins. A record of Marshall's statement is in the Hopkins Papers. (2) 
Interv with Marshall, 13 Jul 49. 

54 Bks VII, IX, Hopkins Papers. 



284 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Chart 6— Hump Tonnage Carried By All Carriers in 
India-China: 1943 

THOUSAND SHORT tons 

'5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 




JFHAMJJASOND 

* China National Aviation Corporation. 

Source: Hisrorv of the India-Burma Theater, 24 Jun 45-31 May 46, Vol. II, p. 300. Gen Ref 
Br, OCMH. 



an effective Air Force. It is assumed that the Chinese Ground Armies will offer 
resistance similar to that offered in previous years and that, given support of an 
effective air force, they will be able to block the Japanese advances in the 
directions indicated." 55 There was no suggestion that the Chinese Army needed 
lend-lease arms or training. Chennault then went on to say that given 150 
fighters, 32 medium bombers, some more men, and 2,500 tons a month over 
the Hump (in February a total of 3,000 tons was flown in) he could not only 
protect the Hump air terminals but conduct consistent and effective operations 
in the central and coastal areas. In conclusion, he warned again that the 
Japanese were about to move and that early action was needed. 

Chennault's proposals were approved by StilwelPs chief of staff and his air 
officer. While Chennault's letter was being considered by StilwelPs head- 
quarters, word came from Marshall that Chennault was to be a major general 
commanding the new Fourteenth Air Force, which invested his proposals with 
the added significance that they would be his suggestions for the exercise of his 
new command. The Fourteenth Air Force was activated on 11 March 1943. 56 

,5 Ltr, with Inds, Chennault to Stilwell, 22 Feb 43, sub: Estimate of China Situation. Item 18, 
U.S. Opns, China Folder (Sep 42-Jul 43), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. 

' 6 (1) Ibid. (2) Rad WAR 2120, Marshall to Stilwell, 19 Feb 43. Item 212, Bk 1, JWS Personal 
File. (3) GO 9, Hq USAF CBI, 11 Mar 43. Chennault was named a major general, AUS, on 3 
March 1943. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



285 



At this delicate juncture the February 15 edition of Time magazine appeared 
in CBI, with an article stating that Chennault was willfully violating Stilwell's 
orders in an attempt to bring his case before higher authority, and further stat- 
ing that opportunities to destroy key Japanese air bases were being lost through 
alleged obstructionism on the part of General Bissell. Chennault denounced 
the article as a complete fabrication and denied he had ever violated Stilwell's 
orders: 

The implication of disrespect for your judgment in any military matters or in matters 
concerning the Chinese is a contortion of the truth. You are the only Regular Army General 
I know of who has long observed the Chinese, served with the Chinese Army, and in whom 
the Chinese have had sufficient confidence to entrust the command of their forces. . . . All 
the American Forces in China have got to work in closest harmony under the designated 
American Commander. Any officer who declines to do so should be summarily removed. In 
time of war, the greatest disservice that any soldier can do is to undermine in any way the 
relations of our Government with our allies. 57 

In this instance, Stilwell's indorsement to Chennault's 22 February pro- 
posals reflected his anger over Time's statements. Chennault was told that his 
primary mission was to protect the Hump airline and that he would get more 
supplies as circumstances permitted. The indorsement ended with a sarcastic 
appreciation of Chennault's interest in theater problems. To prevent Chennault's 
gaining command of both the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces and ultimately 
replacing him as theater commander, Stilwell suggested to Marshall that a 
theater air officer be brought in and set up over both Bissell and Chennault. 
Marshall replied that it would be impossible to put another air officer over 
Chennault; indeed, it might be better if Bissell went home. Stilwell objected 
strongly, for he feared that if the Chinese forced Bissell's recall there would be 
no end to such maneuvers. 58 

Stilwell received another shock when Chennault's new chief of staff, Brig. 
Gen. Edgar E. Glenn, reported on 31 March that Arnold had said Chennault 
"should" have complete control of the Hump and had asked that Stilwell be 
told of his "desires" in the matter. The language was curiously equivocal, and 
Stilwell promptly asked Marshall for confirmation. Marshall replied that there 
was no change of status and that Arnold had assured him that this was in accord 
with Arnold's statements to Glenn and Chennault. 59 

After cautioning Stilwell by inference against anything that might hinder 
Chennault or anger the Generalissimo, Marshall told him explicitly to support 
Chennault's operations and give Chennault free rein to see what he could do 

57 (1) Time, February 15, 1943. (2) CM-IN 1651, Stilwell to Marshall, 4 Mar 43. (3) CM-IN 
1749, Stilwell to Marshall, 4 Mar 43. (4) Ltr, Chennault to Stilwell, 2 Mar 43, sub: Article in Time 
magazine. Item 23 3, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

58 (1) Ltr cite dln. j>5.l (2) Rad AMMISCA 249, Stilwell to Marshall, 20 Mar 43; Rad WAR 
2373, Marshall to Stilwell" 27 Mar 43. Items 268, 278, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

"(1) Ltr, Glenn to Stilwell, 31 Mar 43. Item 512A, Bk 2, JWS Personal File. (2) The Stilwell 
Papers, p. 202. (3) Rad AMMISCA 362, Stilwell to Marshall, 20 Apr 43; Rad WAR 2541, Marshall 
to Stilwell, 21 Apr 43. Items 512, 514, Bk 2, JWS Personal File. 



286 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



with a firm allocation of 1,500 tons a month. Stilwell was also ordered to 
submit reports on the administrative planning and preparation for Chennault's 
air effort. Marshall's radio giving Chennault a priority on 1,500 tons a month 
centered attention on the Hump tonnage question. 60 

Stilwell's policy, announced on 1 March, was to allocate 1,000 tons a month 
for Chennault as a target, and to be willing to give Chennault another 1,500 
tons a month, to a total of 2,500 tons a month, if Stilwell could also give 2,500 
tons a month to the Chinese ground forces in lend-lease. In effect, Stilwell in- 
tended to split Hump tonnage evenly every month and try to give Chennault 
the 2,500 tons he wanted. If bad weather or a shortage of spare parts cut the 
amount flown in, then Stilwell intended that Chennault would still share 
equally with everyone else, regardless of what the shortage did to his air 
operations. 61 Chennault's anger was aroused by this attitude, which he regarded 
as willful blindness to what might be done by air operations in China. He 
wanted a first priority on Hump tonnage, with enough transports put on the 
Hump to guarantee that every month he would get enough to fly and fight. 
His 1,000-ton allocation was in practice proving to be between 600 and 800 
tons a month, not enough for his operations. 62 

Studying the problem of Hump tonnage distribution, Stilwell's chief of staff 
recommended that Stilwell give Chennault an absolute and fixed priority of 
1,500 tons a month, so that the Fourteenth Air Force would be sure to have 
enough, even though other theater activities suffered. General Hearn warned 
that if this was not done, political pressure would increase in Chungking. The 
detailed allocation of Hump tonnage among American and Chinese activities 
as recommended by Hearn was: 63 



Stilwell did not accept this proposal. Noting that 1,500 was three eighths 
of 4,000, and fearing the effect on other activities in China if Chennault had an 
absolute priority, he asked Marshall if giving Chennault three eighths of 

60 Rad WAR 2373, Marshall to Stilwell, 27 Mar 43; Rad WAR 2047, Roosevelt to Chiang, 1 
Apr 43. Items 278, 288, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

61 Ltr, Stilwell to Wheeler, 1 Mar 43, sub: Policies and Estimates of Minimum Tonnages to be 
Moved Over Hump During Next Six Months. Secret Corresp Folder, Headquarters Y-FOS, KCRC. 

62 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 217. (2) Ltr, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 6 Jul 45. WDCSA 
091 China, 15 Aug 45. 

63 Rad AD 537, Hearn to Stilwell, 29 Mar 43. Item 285, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 



Fourteenth Air Force, including Chinese Air Force 

SOS, Kunming 

Gas and oil for Kunming headquarters 

Chungking headquarters 

ATC at Kunming 

Raw materials for Chinese arsenals 

Passengers and baggage 

Y- Force preparations 



Tons 
1,500 



50 
46 
9 
200 
300 
25 



1,870 
4,000 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



287 



whatever came over the Hump would meet the President's wishes. 64 No 
immediate answer came from Marshall, for the Stilwell-Chennault problem 
was again about to receive the President's attention. 65 

Reinforcements for Chennault and added cargo capacity on the Hump to 
support his operations had been under way since March. The 308th Bombard- 
ment Group (B-24) landed in India on 18 March. The concept behind it was 
that the group would carry its own supplies from India to China until it had 
accumulated enough for an operational sortie on targets in China, and then 
begin a process of periodically accumulating and expending its stocks. In 
agreeing to this plan for the 308th Group, the President had been under the 
impression that one bomber on one passage from India to China could carry 
gas and ammunition enough for four sorties. Having discovered his error he 
then asked Marshall to put thirty more transports on the Hump to support the 
308th, which had been assigned to CBI on the premise that it would be 
self-supporting. 

General Marshall argued against assigning these thirty transports. He 
pointed out that cargo planes were so few that these thirty aircraft could only 
come from those assigned to support the forthcoming invasion of Sicily, that 
there were then more transports assigned to the Hump than there were crews 
to use them to the full, and that adding thirty more to the Hump might jeop- 
ardize the success of the Sicilian operation and still not aid China. The President 
did not accept these views, and the transports were assigned. 66 

Roosevelt also asked that consideration be given to a coolie route across 
Burma to China. He had been advised by Chinese sources that such a route 
was practicable for men carrying fifty pounds each, that in some places man- 
drawn carts could be used, and that China could supply all the coolies needed. 
In answer, the War Department observed that Burma was currently occupied 
by the Japanese, which would force the coolies to march across the mountains 
of Tibet. The Tibetans were hostile to the Chinese, though the latter claimed 
suzerainty over Tibet, and might well object to such a project. Since no food 
depots were available in Tibet, the coolies would have to carry their own 
rations. The food requirements for a coolie trudging from India to China across 
Tibet were rather more than his carrying capacity, so the project did not appear 
practicable. 67 

The suggestion for the coolie route and the pressure for more and still more 
aircraft on the Hump came from Soong and his associates. The Chinese as- 
sured the President that the answer to all problems of Hump operations, and 

64 Rad AG 271, Stilwell to Marshall, 31 Mar 43. Item 308, Bk 1, T WS Person al File. 

65 For an account of the Trident Conference, see Chapter IX, pages 327-3 3 ( below. 

66 (1^ Memo, Leahy for Marshall and Arnold, 24 Feb 43; Memo, Marshall for President, 27 
Feb 43, sub: Reply to Generalissimo's Memo. Folder 1 (GMO CKS), Item 58, OPD Exec 10. (2) 
Ltr, Brig Gen John E. Hull, Actg ACofS, to Marshall, 14 Apr 43, sub: President's Message to 
Chiang, 31 March 1943. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

67 (1) Memo, 24 Feb 43, cited n. 66(1). (2) Memo, Marshall for Leahy, 30 Mar 43, sub: 
Coolie Route from India to China. Item 56, OPD Exec 10. 



288 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



indeed of strategy in Asia, lay in the simple assignment of more transports to 
the India-China Wing, ATC. Two messages from the Generalissimo to Roose- 
velt in March urged that more combat aircraft be assigned to Chennault and 
that Hump traffic be increased sharply. The President replied in full to each, 
listing what was being done to aid the Fourteenth and the Chinese Air Force 
and expressing the hope that the Hump would carry 6,000 tons a month by 
early summer. 68 

Within China, the Chinese were energetically building four airfields for 
Chennault's projected operations. Chennault's plans were to the Generalis- 
simo's liking, so he received considerable co-operation from the Chinese. All 
plans for airfield construction were approved by the Generalissimo, and the 
Ministry of Communications was told to begin work on them. Liuchow was 
chosen as the air terminus in east China, and preliminary plans for it were sub- 
mitted. Stilwell reported to Marshall that everything possible was being done 
to hasten operations, and that Chennault would not be restrained in any way 
unless what he proposed was obviously undesirable. 69 

Obstacles in Chennault's Path 

In overruling Marshall and Stilwell and directing that Chennault have his 
way, the President directed that U.S. Army Forces, CBI, implement a strategy 
for which the logistical foundation had not been laid. Within theater head- 
quarters' possible sphere of action were two major problems, only one of which 
was to receive corrective action in the near future. The first, which was left 
unsolved and indeed unapproached for months, was that of moving Chen- 
nault's supplies 880 miles from the Yunnan airfields to his bases in east China. 
{Map 6) There were two reasons why this problem was unsolved in 1943. 
These were the command structure of China Theater and the lack of American 
resources in China. For the first, the Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, 
China Theater, was the responsible officer for all operations in that theater. 
Stilwell as Chief of Staff, China Theater, was responsible for bringing problems 
and their suggested solutions to the Generalissimo's attention. Since the Chi- 
nese had been unwilling to set up a combined staff for China Theater there 
was no G-4 to give supply problems his continuing attention. In January 1943 
Stilwell had called Soong's attention to the line of communications to east 

68 (1) Memo, Soong for President, 25 Feb 43, sub: Memo re Air Opns in China. Bk VII, 
Hopkins Papers. This memorandum is one of the most extreme communications from Soong, but 
during the spring of 1943, he was indefatigable, as the Hopkins Papers show, in carrying out his 
objective of getting more of everything for China. (2) Memo, Leahy for Marshall and Arnold, 
1 Apr 43; Memo, Marshall for Stratemeyer, 18 Mar 43; Memo, Hull for Marshall, 14 Apr 43, sub: 
President's Msg to CKS, 31 Mar 43. WDCSA (China), A45-466. 

6 ' Rad WAR 2373, Marshall to Stilwell, 27 Mar 43; Rad AMMISCA AG 271, Stilwell to 
Marshall, 31 Mar 43; Rad AG 536, Hearn to Stilwell, 28 Mar 43. Items 278, 308, 281. Bk 1, JWS 
Personal File. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



289 



China. His files reveal no further attempts in the first six months of 1943 to 
place the matter before Chinese authority. 

As for the Generalissimo and Chennault, there is no indication in the first 
six months of 1943 that either felt any concern about the problem of moving 
supplies from Kunming to the air bases; indeed, in April 1943 the General- 
issimo formally assured the President that "no obstacle" existed to putting the 
Chennault Plan into operation. 70 Had an attempt to delegate responsibility to 
him been made, Stilwell would have been extremely embarrassed. Aside from 
Chennault's few thousand men, only a few hundred Americans, mostly Y-Force 
instructors, were in China Theater. Every ton of supplies coming over the 
Hump was divided between Chennault, the Chinese Government, and prep- 
arations for Anakim, to which last operation the Generalissimo's representa- 
tives had agreed at Calcutta in February 1943. Nothing was left for an 
American line of communications over the hundreds of miles between Kun- 
ming and the east China airfields. Therefore, the U.S. SOS at Kunming 
necessarily relied on Chinese Government agencies to transport supplies 
eastward to Chennault. 71 

The second problem lay in the fact that on the Indian side of the Hump 
the Assam airfields were not capable of supporting the aircraft now assigned 
to the ATC. To be sure, ATC efficiency still left much to be desired, but after 
December 1942 ATC was independent of Stilwell. The allocation of SOS and 
Indian resources had not taken into account the possibility of a greatly enlarged 
Hump effort; the President was ordering the assignment of transports to air- 
fields not yet completed. When Stilwell in January 1943 told Wheeler to think 
in terms of an expanded SOS, Wheeler in turn discussed his projects and prob- 
lems with Somervell during the latter's visit to India with the Arnold-Somer- 
vell-Dill mission. These discussions were significant. StilwelPs Mission in CBI 
centered about the reform of the Chinese Army. Problems of supply he left to 
the experts in logistics: Wheeler, who was of course StilwelPs supply adviser, 
and Somervell, who played the same role for Marshall. Their recommendations 
would determine the attitude their superiors took on supply problems. In 
Stilwell's case, he was happy to leave supply and engineering problems to 
Wheeler and to concentrate on his efforts to persuade the Generalissimo to 
reform the Chinese Army. Stilwell's personal papers rarely mention the Ledo 
Road, and such casual references to the project as do appear indicate no great 
interest. On the other hand, references to the problems he met in attempting 
to reform the Chinese Army are extremely numerous, lengthy, and detailed. 

Somervell directed Wheeler to propose a plan for the support of 100,000 
U.S. troops in China and ultimately 500,000. This Wheeler did, assuming that 

70 Ltr with Incls, Soong to Hopkins, 29 Apr 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. 

71 In SOS in CBI, China Section, Appendix C, is a story of the first American SOS people in 
China. With no pocket guide or reference book to assist them in dealing with the Chinese, they 
"had to learn the hard way." P. 1. 



290 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



enough of north Burma would be taken by 1 February 1944 to permit work on 
the Ledo Road as far south as Bhamo, and that all of Burma would be reoc- 
cupied by the beginning of the 1944 monsoon. By fall of 1944 he hoped to be 
able to support 100,000 American ground troops in Yunnan. Until the 
Irrawaddy River was reopened to barge traffic, Wheeler proposed to use the 
Ledo Road as his principal supply route. After this brief initial period of a few 
months, supplies would begin moving up the Irrawaddy River from Rangoon 
to Bhamo, from there to go by truck into China. Wheeler planned to unload 
87,750 tons a month at Rangoon, and but 18,000 tons a month at Calcutta, of 
which 89,250 tons would be laid down monthly at Kunming. Therefore, the 
plans of CBI Theater called for supporting about 90 percent of the U.S. effort 
in China by means of a line of communications via Rangoon. Wheeler's pro- 
posals to Army Service Forces were related to the projects involved in this 
planning, rather than to direct support of Chennault's current operations. 72 

In spring 1943 SOS in India had two major engineering projects, but was 
directly concerned with only one of them. This was building the Ledo Road, 
which was to be paralleled by a 4-inch, thin- walled pipeline carrying fuel from 
the Digboi refinery area of Assam. The pipeline received high priority from 
the CCS on 26 February 1943, but its completion would take months. The 
other project, building airfields in Assam to support the Hump, was sponsored 
by the SOS but was being executed by the British in accordance with the War 
Department directive that local resources would be used to the utmost. Of 
SOS's engineering activities and requests, all that would contribute to Chen- 
nault's operations in China was the construction of some plants in India to 
make steel drums in which to haul oil and gas over the Hump. 73 

In January 1943 ATC warned Bissell that the Assam airfields were not being 
completed on schedule. In replying, Bissell accepted full responsibility for their 
completion. Under the circumstances, this could only mean that Bissell ac- 
cepted responsibility for prodding the appropriate Indian agencies. In March 
Stilwell listed for Marshall the failure of WavelPs engineers to complete the 
airfields as one of several examples of lethargy in India. Stilwell made the 
significant remark to Marshall that this failure was one of the factors not under 
United States control which materially affected American operations. Marshall 
then warned Dill that ATC was receiving aircraft in India faster than they 
would be employed, because of the bad airfield situation. Marshall would be 
grateful for anything Dill might do to expedite their completion. There was 
therefore no surprise in the War Department when on 19 April the commander 
of the India-China Wing, ATC, Col. Edward H. Alexander, reported that the 

72 Memo, Wheeler for Somervell, 8 May 43, sub: Restoration of Communication Facilities in 
Burma. Folder, Burma— Restoring Communications, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

73 (1) MS 428, Army Service Forces Activities in the Supply of China, Burma, and India, 1942- 
1943, pp. 50-54. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Rpt, Col Frederick S. Strong, Jr., Chief Engr, SOS CBI, 
to Somervell, 13 Nov 43. Somervell File, Vol IV, Hq ASF, Theaters of Opns, CBI 1944, A46-257. 
(Hereafter, Somervell File, -) (3) Min, CCS 73d Mtg, 26 Feb 43. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



291 



unpaved, incomplete runways in Assam were unusable because of rain. He 
had but two runways and fourteen hardstandings from which to operate 146 
aircraft. The detailed survey of the progress on the airfields which he included 
in his letter revealed the Assam airfields would not be able to support Chen- 
nault for many months to come. 74 

The condition of the airfields angered Stilwell. Far from complacent about 
the misfortunes of the ATC, he wrote: "The base was in sorry shape. A sea of 
mud. No hardstandings. No access roads. Very bad storage. Forage ruined by 

rain. ( , the QM storage man, incompetent.)" 75 So Stilwell put pressure 

on Wavell: "Rushed to Delhi to squawk to Wavell, and we got action. In two 
days, 5,000 were at work on each airfield. . . ." 76 

In explanation, the SOS reported to Somervell: 

Construction has for the past year been extremely slow due to British failure to place pri- 
ority on task, even though during this period the U.S. was assured that such priority existed. 
Target dates have never even been closely approached. The airdromes, supposedly with 
sufficiently high priority so that materials and equipment would be forthcoming, have been 
deprived of both for British projects of Eastern Army. Specific instances would be ascertained 
only after damage was done. British assurance was always forthcoming that entire field 
project would be complete before the monsoon of 1943 and with such being the case Ameri- 
can Engineers were placed in a position of waiting until completion of project did not appear 
possible with available resources before effective action could be taken. 77 

Under these conditions, Hump tonnage to China not surprisingly fell from 
3,200 tons in February to 2,500 tons in April, and Chennault's allocation, of 
course, fell with it just when the President was directing he be given a free 
hand. In March, according to StilwelPs announced Hump policy, Chennault 
was to have received 1,000 tons. Chennault protested that he actually received 
only 615 tons (though ATC claimed the true figure was 807 tons). Chennault 
also believed that in defiance of the President's wishes Stilwell was not giving 
his supplies high priority. A further element of discord had been introduced by 
SOS in India. With such heavy political emphasis being placed on the amount 
of tonnage over the Hump, SOS airfield personnel frequently disregarded the 
priorities set by Chennault's staff and loaded aircraft as quickly as possible with 
whatever lay at hand, regardless of priority. Thus, when Chennault asked that 
81 percent of his 1,000 tons be gasoline, of the tonnage he actually received, he 

74 (1) CM-IN 430, Stilwell to Marshall, 1 Apr 43. (2) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 8 Apr 43, sub: 
Program for India-China Wing. Item 66, OPD Exec 10. (3) Ltr, Alexander to Arnold, 19 Apr 43, 
with Incl, Rad NRJ1339, Bissell to Alexander, 30 Jan 43. Folder, New Airdromes in India Corresp 
(Dec 42-May 43), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (4) CM-IN 11827, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Mar 43. (5) 
Ltr, Col Robert F. Tate, Air Off, Hq USAF CBI, to Stilwell, 12 Feb 43, sub: Airdrome Housing and 
Operational Facilities. Folder, New Airdromes in India Corresp (Dec 42-May 43), CT 23, Dr 2, 
KCRC. 

75 Stilwell B&W, 19 Apr 43. 

76 The Stilwell Papers, p. 202. 

77 Notes, Lt Col Henry A. Byroade, Engr, sub: Notes for Record on Airdrome Construction and 
Cargo Availability for India-China Freight Line, 23 Jun 43. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43. 



292 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



claimed only 50 percent was gasoline. ATC disputed this, but set the figure 
at 68 percent, still short of the 81 percent desired by Chennault. 78 

U. S. Forces Establish Training Centers for Y-Force 

Preparation for Anakim in China continued at a fair pace in February- 
March 1943. Soong's departure for Washington and his work there on behalf 
of Chennault did not seem to interfere with Stilwell's progress in China. It 
was one of those rare and halcyon periods in wartime Sino- American relations 
when the Chinese were co-operative and reform of the Chinese Army was in 
progress. It may be surmised that, pending clarification of the American atti- 
tude, the Generalissimo co-operated with both Chennault and Stilwell. 

In January 1943 after the talks with Soong and Chen indicated enough 
progress, Stilwell, anticipating final agreement, ordered U.S. instructors to 
move to Yunnan and to set up in Kunming a branch office of his Chungking 
headquarters under Colonel Dorn as a deputy chief of staff. Dorn's mission was 
to represent Stilwell in all matters involving Y-Force training and in adminis- 
trative matters involving U.S. personnel. Since the Y-Force was under Chinese 
command, the American responsibility was limited to training and supply of 
lend-lease equipment. 79 

Stilwell's training program for Y-Force was: 

1. Training. Training is to be carried out in training centers and in the units themselves. 
Officers are to attend courses of about six weeks each at the training centers of the Kunming 
area. After graduating, they go back to their units and become instructors in the unit schools. 
The unit schools are to be organized and conducted by American instructors permanently 
stationed with armies and divisions. This will ensure that training is continuous, progressive, 
and uniform. A group of American instructors will be placed with each army, and can organ- 
ize the unit schools in the divisions belonging to the army, supervise instruction, and keep 
the army commander informed of progress. 

2. Training centers. Training Centers for Artillery, Infantry, and signal communications 
are to be set up in the Kunming area. Courses should begin in February, and run for six 
weeks each. Graduates go back to their units and act as instructors. Each artillery class 
should be about 300 officers, each infantry class about 450, and each signal communications 
class about 150. The artillery training class will train battery officers in methods of fire and 
all other subjects pertaining to the battery; the infantry training class will give a thorough 
course in weapons and the tactics of minor units; and the signal communications training 
class will give a thorough course in radio, telephone, panel and air-ground communications. 
These training classes will be staffed and conducted by American instructors. 80 

The Chinese War Ministry was anxious to have direct control over the U.S. 
instructors and desired to disperse them among the different armies and head- 

78 Memo with Incls, Chennault for Arnold, 4 May 43, sub: Factors Which Limit Opns of 14th 
Air Force. OPD 381 CTO, III, A47-30. 

79 (1) Rpt, Hq Y-FOS USAF CBI, 10 Jul 44, sub: Hist Rpt for 1943. History of CBI, Sec. II, 
Ch. Ill, pp. 4-5. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 198. 

80 Notes, Training for Y-Force, with Incl, Chinese text. SNF-151. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



293 



quarters in Yunnan, the Generalissimo's headquarters, and the Chinese military 
academies. They further desired that these man be under "command" of the 
unit commander and the "guidance" of his chief of staff, who would approve 
all training undertaken. The War Ministry would control all their move- 
ments and assignments. Stilwell replied urbanely that because the number of 
these men was so few it would be best to use them at schools in the Kunming 
area, whose Chinese graduates could go forth as instructors. Stilwell disclaimed 
any desire to use this program as a means of interfering with Chinese organiza- 
tions. The training program would be controlled by General Chen under War 
Ministry directives. 81 

Preliminary orders for the Artillery Training Center went out on 19 January. 
Chen's appointment as Commanding General, Chinese Expeditionary Force, 
was finally and formally announced on 17 February, after a period in which 
General Ho attempted to persuade the Generalissimo to reconsider. The Infan- 
try and Artillery Training Centers opened their doors on 1 April 1943. 82 In the 
case of the Artillery Center at Kan-hai-tze, of which a detailed account is 
extant, the doors opened after a brisk struggle with local Chinese authority 
and Chinese workmen that illustrated some of the difficulties in the way of 
giving aid to China. 

The only buildings Governor Lung Yun was willing to give the Americans 
were bomb damaged, and a construction and remodeling program was required. 
Adjoining the compound was an unused Chinese airstrip under command of 
a Chinese air officer with the title of Station Master. This dignitary complained 
of the workmen's crossing his field and arrested the contractor's subforeman. 
His obstructive attitude was supported by his superior in the Chinese Air Force. 
Wrote Brig. Gen. Jerome J. Waters, charged with organizing the Artillery 
Center: 

Finally the contractor revealed to me that the Station Master had been insisting that he 
purchase all building materials from him at ridiculously exorbitant prices. As soon as I 
learned about this "shakedown" I informed the Station Master in no uncertain terms that 
the building operations would continue without interference from him even if it became 
necessary for armed American personnel to guard the contractor's men. The entire incident 
was reported to General Stilwell, and shortly afterwards Colonel Yien called to inform me 
that the Station Master was being removed for his stupidity. 85 

His successor blew out the entire electric light circuit in the center "with a 
crude galvanized iron wire which he ran to his house in Kan-hai-tze in the 

81 (1) Stipulations Concerning the Employment of the American Instructors. SNF-55. Couched 
in legal terms, the paper appears to be based on contracts for hired instructors. (2) Draft Memo 
in Stilwell's hand, for Shang Chen, NMC. SNF-55. 

82 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 190. (2) CM-IN 8392, MA Chungking to MILID, 17 Feb 43. 
(3) Rad C-8, Dorn to Stilwell, 9 Feb 43. Item 207, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (4) CM-IN 3365, 
Stilwell to Marshall, 6 Apr 43. 

83 Rpt, Gen Waters, History of Field Artillery Training School, Incl 6, App. Ill, Y-Force Hist 
Rpt, p. 10. AG 314.7. (Hereafter, Waters Report.) 



294 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



expectation of cadging a little American electricity to light his house. Of course 
he merely succeeded in blowing out the entire circuit. . . ." 84 

The closest supervision was necessary to prevent the workmen from making 
off with gasoline, motor oil, and spare parts from the center's few vehicles, for 
the grinding poverty of China's masses, and the flourishing black market, made 
this very profitable. On one or two occasions drivers even drained the fluid 
from their trucks' brake systems and sold it in town. It was necessary to count 
the nails issued to carpenters and account for each one driven. When the Artil- 
lery Center opened on 1 April, gaping holes were still in the roofs and walls, 
but Anakim could not wait on that. Wrote General Waters: 

The original organization of the FATC was patterned after the Field Artillery School at 
Fort Sill, Oklahoma. As such, it contained a small staff for administrative purposes, a Tactics 
Department, and a Gunnery Department. . . . When the school opened, American liaison 
officers were assigned to work with the various units of the school troops, and the Director 
of the Tactics Department was put in charge of school troop activity. 85 

Waters regarded the organization as very satisfactory. Twenty-three inter- 
preters were on hand when the center opened. Considering themselves members 
of the superior scholar class and trying to live on fixed incomes at a time of 
rampant inflation, these men were a problem for the center. Fifty-six American 
officers and enlisted men were present for duty as classes began. Twelve Chinese 
officers were present also to act as assistant instructors; two of them were 
competent and were retained. 86 

School troops were to be provided by the 71st Army Artillery Battalion, 
with 40 officers and 348 enlisted men who arrived for duty just before the center 
opened. "The entire organization was undernourished and badly in need of 
medical attention." Center personnel at once began training the battalion, and 
efforts were made to bring it up to par physically. The 2d Battalion, 2d Army 
Field Artillery, arrived on 13 April. It was in comparatively good physical con- 
dition. The principal obstacle to training this battalion was the disinterest of 
the battalion commander, whose removal was finally arranged through Chinese 
channels. The animals of school troops were in poor condition. "The Chinese 
are very reluctant to graze their animals for fear of losing both the animals and 
the soldiers through desertion." 87 

When the Artillery Center began its first class on 5 April, eighty-seven 
Chinese officers were present as students. This number introduced "the most 
serious problem" of the center, which was the "failure of the Chinese to furnish 
students equal to the capacity of the schools. . . . The Artillery Training 
Center operated at approximately l A of its capacity. . . ." in 1943. 88 



84 Waters Report. 

" Waters Report, p. 28, quotation on p. 14. 

86 Waters Report, pp. 18, 69. 

87 Waters Report, pp. 53-54, 66. 

88 (1) Waters Report, p. 10. (2) Quotation from History of CBI, p. 138. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



295 



The course of instruction covered eight weeks. Subjects taught were: 

Hours 



Observed Fires 96 

Firing Battery 42 

Massed Fires 56 

Animal Transport 36 

Materiel 28 

Tactics 56 

Motor Transport 12 

Communications 52 



378 

Instruction in observed fires stressed forward observer techniques, but some 
instruction in precision methods was given for use against pillboxes. Instruc- 
tion in massed fire ran counter to the Chinese habit of using pieces singly and 
without attempt at cover and camouflage. The scarcity of motor transport made 
it advisable to concentrate on animal transport techniques. 89 

Brig. Gen. (then Colonel) Thomas S. Arms received a personal directive 
from Stilwell on 12 March 1943 on the training program for the Infantry Train- 
ing Center. The center's mission was to train officers of the Y- Force in the use 
of infantry weapons and in tactics up to and including regimental level. Signal 
instruction was also to be provided for signal officers. General Arms was to be 
vice-commandant, in charge of training, while a Chinese colleague controlled 
discipline and administration. Classes of one hundred infantry and twenty-five 
signal officers were to enter weekly and biweekly respectively. 90 

The former Airplane Factory 1 at Kunming and the area adjoining were 
received for use by the Infantry Training Center. Opening ceremonies were 
held on 4 April attended by Chen and senior Chinese and U.S. officers. School 
troops were furnished by the Chinese authorities. General Arms described their 
physical condition as appalling. Seventy percent of them suffered from tracho- 
ma, scabies, colds, and intestinal disease. Ten of them died in the first three 
weeks of the center's existence. Analyzing the situation, Arms reported that 
this condition was due primarily to long-continued malnutrition and lack of 
medical care. Moreover, the impressment system which passed for conscription 
brought in only the sweepings of the villages— the men without friends, 
money, or influence. General Arms reported that conditions in the Chinese 
Army were so bad that any man who could avoid service did so. 91 

The first two classes received at the Infantry Training Center were not 
officers, for whom the instruction was designed, but officer candidates who had 
been attending General Tu's 5 th Group Army Training Center for junior offi- 
cers. Their attitude was satisfactory, but General Arms believed that, in view of 

89 Waters Report, pp. 22, 30, 73-78. 

90 Directive, Stilwell to Arms, 12 Mar 43. AG (Y-FOS) 353, KCRC. 

91 (1) Jour, 1943, Hq Infantry Training Center. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Progress Rpt 1, 25 
Mar-22 Apr 43, Arms to Stilwell, dated 22 Apr 43. AG (Y-FOS) 354.6, KCRC. 



296 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



the U.S. effort involved in providing a highly qualified American instructional 
staff, the Chinese should be called upon to provide a representative group of 
qualified officer students. 92 These officer candidates were receiving only two 
meals a day from the Chinese authorities responsible for administering the 
center, and at Arms' insistence meals were increased to three a day. American 
insistence also changed Tu's plan to send 600 of these officer candidates through 
the center before Y-Force officers attended, and later classes were more capable 
of receiving instruction. Consistent with the Chinese attitude toward the 
Artillery Training Center, the Chinese Army in 1943 never sent enough students 
to operate the Infantry Center at above five eighths capacity. 93 

Describing his experiences at a Chinese Army training school, Col. Walter 
S. Wood, commanding a U.S. liaison team with XI Group Army, wrote: 

The school had all the outward aspects of a school. It had adequate buildings. It had 
ample training areas. It had a rifle and machine gun range. There was a Commandant, As- 
sistant Commandant and faculty. An elaborate training schedule was on hand. There was 
an opening exercise and a graduating exercise and ceremonies each Sunday morning. The 
sad thing was that it did not teach. No one fired on the ranges. No one maneuvered on the 
training areas. Haphazard lectures or, to be more accurate, speeches were the order of the 
day. When the school was inspected by visitors there was a series of "set pieces" which were 
put on to convey the idea of scheduled and progressive training. 

The feeling seemed to be that, so long as the opening ceremony went well, the student 
body remained in attendance and the graduation ceremony and banquet went smoothly, then 
the school was a success. 94 

Marshaling the Yunnan Force 

By mid- March 1943 the Generalissimo's failure to create a sound command 
structure for Y- Force and to concentrate its divisions was the major missing 
portion of the Soong-Chen-Stilwell program of 28 January. 95 On 7 March Stil- 
well reported these issues to Marshall. He explained that malnutrition, sickness, 
corruption, and lack of equipment made the troops in Yunnan a "terrible 
indictment of China's leaders." 96 Of the eleven armies on hand or expected, 
five were good by Chinese standards, three were fair, and three were worthless. 
The war lord situation in Yunnan seriously hindered the logical evolution of 
an over- all command structure for Y-Force. | {Chart 7)*| Neither the Indochina 
border armies, with their important holding mission, nor the Y-Force strategic 
reserves around Kunming were under General Chen's command. Instead, his 
Chinese Expeditionary Force faced the Burma border without any control over 
what happened in its rear. The only semblance of unity was Chen's influence 
over the Y-Force training program. 

92 Ibid. , 

93 (1) Rpt citec |rr91(2)| (2) History of CBI, p. 138. 

94 Wood, Copy oi Rpts, Tali Mil District, Yoke Force, CBI Opns 43-44, p. 4. Gen R.ef Br, 
OCMH. 

95 Memo cite j n. lTI 

96 CM-IN 421 7, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Mar 43. 



Chart 7 — Organization of Chinese Yunnan Force (Y-Force): March-April 1943 



SUPREME NATIONAL DEfENSE COUNCL 



Call Chin*** Aim, 
G« Hb Y>„1 -tU 



Nniipnnl Milling 



G«o*i Ha Kunnin; 

Gm Lwnj Yu" 



CHINESE EXPEDITIONARY fORCE 
G«n Qy«g 



r 



GENERALlSStMQ HQS KUNMING 

Gin LunJ Vun 



XI GfiOUP AFLMY 

Li Gl« Sv; Hti-Inn 





Id p.f. 




Di, 











1 


Aimy 


71it Ar*iy 
Mo| G« Chwif 


«d A»ny« 
Mai fit. U 
Kan . 





frh Di. 



))d D.. 



:- >l U. 



n 



ia 1 C'v 



* Located in Sicilian! Provincr, 

* Located lit Kwcichow Province, 




YUrJNAN-INDOCHINA fORCE 
Gw Lun j Ym 



V GROUP ARMY 



IX GROUP ARMY 

Moj G« KuOA Litn- 
chim 



Mai Gtn Chiu 

1 , 



in place tl Pueih, Yuruun, 
in Siechwifl Province. 



Mai G*n Kb 



r&Tj — 



T4lh A«#' 



— I 10JdDi,[ 



I 



T 



I GROUP ARMY 



— |^Tih D» | 



:: ; Ann* 
i G*n Otoo 



Mik AmV 
Moi Gtn Hiien? 



l«ih Di. 
Rtpl 



HSOlh Amy 
Mb] Gtn An 



gran 



M | 



lB4lh D- 



' Located in Hupeh Province 
' Ed mute to Yunnan Provuicr 



tm&l Memo. Wung Wtn-tuien, Admin Drpt, NMC for Dorn, 13 Mir 43, *ub: Pcrtonncl ReqmU For Y-Fof«. AG (Y-FOS, 320.2, KCRC 



298 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



The Chinese Services of Supply situation was also confused. The General- 
issimo's Yunnan headquarters had its own SOS. Gen. Yu Fei-peng, whom 
Stilwell branded "a rascal of the first water," had the area SOS. General Chen 
controlled his Chinese Expeditionary Force SOS. In order to bolster Chen, Stil- 
well was able to obtain control of Burma Road transport and engineering 
organizations. This control, Stilwell hoped, would permit some restriction of 
the smuggling that wasted precious gasoline and debauched Chinese soldiers 
and politicos. Then, he proceeded to one of the larger aspects of China Theater: 
"From all fronts come consistent reports of fierce fighting. From observation 
and investigation I am convinced that they are at least 90% false. I note that 
they get widespread publicity in the United States. This makes my job more 
difficult, of course. If the Chinese Army is so full of fight and so well led, what 
am I here for?" 97 

Though he had issued orders previously for the concentration of the 
Y-Force, the Generalissimo once again on 23 March ordered troops and re- 
placements to Yunnan. A week later Stilwell radioed Soong that the next 
problem was to have the replacements with their divisions by 31 May. Stilwell 
had raised the replacement issue with Soong earlier, reminding the Chinese 
statesman that the consolidation of troops was to have begun on 21 January 
but had not yet started. Stilwell pointed out that the basis of the Sino- American 
wartime relationship was that the United States was to contribute weapons 
while the Chinese were to furnish men. Then came a gentle hint pinning this 
reminder to the lend-lease question. If Chinese manpower was not forthcoming, 
said Stilwell, then munitions supplied would be largely wasted. 98 

Meanwhile, much to StilwelPs astonishment, the Chinese War Ministry 
adopted the American-proposed Tables of Organization and Equipment and 
ordered replacements to the units of Y-Force. The War Ministry's 23 March 
plan embodied: 

1. Eleven Armies (corps) [in terms of U.S. Army strength] containing thirty-one (31) 
divisions are assigned to Y-Force. 

2. a. The 2d Reserve Division will remain an independent division. 

b. Two divisions of the following Armies will be brought to the new proposed strength 
of 10,300; the third division in each of these Armies to retain only enough weapons to train, 
and in effect to become a replacement unit: 

71st Army 6th Army 54th Army 

93d Army 5 2d Army 8th Army 

Thus the above Armies will consist of two "assault" divisions and one replacement division 

each. 

c. The two divisions of the 53d Army will be brought up to the new proposed strength 
of 10,300 for each division. [Stilwell did not propose to alter the composition of Army troops 
(8,400) at this time. Unlike the U.S. practice, Chinese artillery remained under Army com- 

^ ibid. 

9 8 (1) CM-IN 16435, Stilwell to Soong, 30 Mar 43. (2) CM-IN 10597, Stilwell to Soong, 20 
Mar 43. (3) Cases 122, 126, 127, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



299 



mand, and was attached to organic divisions at the order of the Army commander. When it 
was possible to bring some 75-mm. pieces into China, Stilwell recommended personnel 
changes in the artillery units of the Army command]. 

d. The three divisions of the following Armies will be brought up to the new proposed 
strength of 10,300; each army to contain three assault divisions: 

2d Army 5th Army 74th Army 

e. The two divisions of the 60th Army (Yunnan Provincial troops) will be brought up 
to the present Table of Organization strength (1942) of 7,800 each. [Army troops numbered 
4,200 men]. 

3. a. With re-organization and replacement the Y-Force will consist of twelve (12) new- 
type assault divisions and three (3) replacement divisions on the Western Front [Salween 
front]; four (4) new-type assault divisions and two (2) old-type assault divisions, and two 
(2) replacement divisions on the Southern Front [Indochina border]; and eight (8) new- 
type assault divisions and one (1) replacement divis ion in gene ral reserve [Kunming area], 
b. Thus the Y-Force will consist of a total of: [& | Chart 7. ] 
24 new-type assault divisions 
2 old-type assault divisions 
6 replacement divisions." 

Y-Force was understrength by 185,255 men. Nevertheless, the Chinese War 
Ministry' s plan to pr ovide 122,753 replacements by 10 June met with StilwelPs 
approval. |"(7^ 6)\ Why were divisions so far understrength in a country 
Westerners always thought of as teeming with men? There were two reasons: 
First, in a peasant, small-holding economy only so many farmers can be re- 
moved from the land without causing famine. By 1943 Chinese manpower 
reserves were badly depleted, hence StilwelPs proposals to fill up the better- 
trained divisions by taking men from the poorer. Secondly, the Chinese supply 
and impressment systems were very bad. The central government gave cash 
allowances to unit commanders with which to buy rice. 

Naturally a certain amount of "squeeze" is inevitable in the course of the various trans- 
actions, and the amount of food that a soldier receives [is] in direct proportion to the 
honesty and business acumen of his immediate commander. Often in order to secure sufficient 
food for his men a commander will deliberately pad his strength report. Tactically this causes 
considerable confusion when the unit arrives at the fighting front with only a fraction of its 
"paper strength." On several occasions troops at the FATC [Field Artillery Training Center] 
were not fed for as long as three days because the borrowing ability of the Battalion Com- 
mander was exhausted in the local villages and in several instances we were forced to despatch 
our own trucks for the purpose of obtaining rice, so that units stationed here would not 
starve to death. 100 

On paper, at least, with the acceptance of the Tables of Organization each 
Chinese army would be able to meet a Japanese division with a reasonable 
chance of success. Stilwell proposed during the initial phase of Anakim to send 
two Chinese armies against the lone Japanese 56th Division barring the way into 

99 Memo, Wang Wen-hsien, Admin Dept, NMC, for Dorn, 23 Mar 43, sub: Personnel Reqmts 
for Y-Force. AG (Y-FOS) 320.2, KCRC. 

100 Waters Report, pp. 65-66. 



300 STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Table 6 — Chinese Personnel Requirements for Y-Force: 23 March 1943 



Organization and Deployment 


Strength 2 3 
Authorized 


March 1943 
Actual 


Shortage 


Replace- 
ments 
En route 


Planned 
Strength 
by 10 June 
1943 




412,600 


227,345 


185,255 


122,753 


350,098 


Chinese Expeditionary Force. . . . 


196,500 


86,150 


110,350 


64,000 


150,150 




too o r\ r\ 


55,550 


72,650 


49,000 


104,550 




39,300 


2 5,600 


1 3,700 


17,000 


42,600 




39,300 


18,750 


20,550 


9,500 


28,250 




39,300 


8,200 


31,100 


17,000 


2 5,200 




10,300 


3,000 


7,300 


5,500 


8,500 




68,300 


30,600 


37,700 


15,000 


45,600 




39,300 


14,700 


24,600 


10,500 


25,200 




29,000 


15,900 


13,100 


4,500 


20,400 




98,200 


54,500 


43,700 


21,484 


75,984 




19,600 


15,650 


3,950 


4,650 


20,300 




19,600 


15,650 


3,950 


4,650 


20,300 




78,600 


38,850 


39,750 


16,834 


55,684 




39,300 


20,450 


18,850 


7,544 


27,994 




39,300 


18,400 


20,900 


9,290 


27,690 




117,900 


86,695 


31,205 


37,269 


123,964 




117,900 


86,695 


31,205 


37,269 


123,964 




39,300 


33,860 


5,440 


18,984 


52,844 




39,300 


21,050 


18,250 


7,300 


28,350 




39,300 


31,785 


7,515 


10,985 


42,770 



Source: Memo. Wang Wen-hsi en, Admin Dept. NMC, for Dorn, 23 Mar 43, sub: Personnel Reqmts for 
Y-Force. AG (Y-FOS) 320.2, KCRC. 



Burma. The basic principle behind the new tables was that all Y-Force units 
do wn to the smallest should be able to operate as self-contained combat teams. 
(Se ^Chart 3.\ The Sal ween Front was over 100 air miles long, the 56th Division 
would be spread very thin, and the Chinese could simply flow through the 
inevitable gaps. 

Under the new Tables of Organization, Chinese infantry regiments increased 
from 2,052 men to 2,922. Each rifle company would have 90 rifles and 9 machine 
guns, with a total of 81 machine guns in the regiment. Each company, bat- 
talion, and regiment was given increased allotments of mortars to build an 
adequate base of fire to support its maneuver. Some of these mortars would 
be the handy and light 60-mm. American weapon, new to the Chinese. Each 
battalion would have an antitank squad with the Boys .55-caliber rifle, a British 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



301 



weapon quite capable of dealing with the thinly-armored Japanese tanks. 
Artillery for the Y-Force would be equal, weighed by number of weapons, to 
nineteen battalions, mostly with pieces of 75-mm. This force was far more than 
the Japanese defenders would have. 

The lend-lease contribution to the Y-Force would not be great for most of 
the weapons were in China. The Chinese would furnish the rifles, the light 
machine guns, the grenade dischargers, the 82-mm. trench mortars, and 5,000 
submachine guns. The United States was to fly in 2,200 submachine guns, 576 
Boys antitank rifles, 900 60-mm. mortars, 558 Bren machine guns, 40 75-mm. 
pack howitzers, and 430 rocket launchers. These supplies, plus ammunition, 
totaled 6,900 tons of ordnance. Then it would be up to China to find the 
soldiers. 101 

In mid- April Stilwell was confident China would find them. He was 
partially satisfied with the progress being made in Y-Force. The Artillery and 
Infantry Training Centers for brushing Y-Force officers into shape were in op- 
eration. General Chen Cheng was co-operative beyond Stilwell's highest 
previous hopes. Concentration of divisions in Yunnan was proceeding. Then 
on 18 April 1943 Stilwell met with the Generalissimo, who "acted scared. 
Morale at low ebb." 102 Japanese activity in central China, on the direct path 
to Chungking, was increasing. The result of this activity was irresistible pres- 
sure to drain men and supplies from Yunnan to the I-chang gorge area of the 
Yangtze, and much of the January-March progress with Y-Force was lost. 

In the winter of 1942-1943 the Japanese 11th Army, garrisoning the 
Hankow area, had expanded its defense perimeter in the Tung-ting Lake area 
at the expense of Chinese Communist forces there. Using sixteen battalions, 
by the end of March 1943 the Japanese had scored local success at the cost of 
354 dead and 890 wounded, occupied a "fertile [rice] region," and held good 
positions for future operations. 103 At this time the Japanese shipping situation 
on the Yangtze, which is navigable by ocean-going ships, became acute because 
of reverses in the Southwest Pacific. Estimating there were some 20,000 tons of 
river shipping on the upper Yangtze, which had fled there to escape them, the 
Japanese determined on a large-scale raid to trap these vessels at their moorings 
and move them down river. After this, the Japanese would withdraw. The 
concentration of three divisions plus three detachments of approximately regi- 
mental strength began on 16 April and concluded on 4 May. These stirrings, 
noted in Chungking and accompanied by increased Japanese aerial activity, 
alarmed the Chinese and disturbed Chennault's staff. On 15 May Y-Force 

101 The General Plan of Anakim (Y-Force Project), 19 May 1943, is a staff study of the 
Y-Force role in projected Burma operations during the 1943-1944 dry season. It also contains 
the general scheme for re-equipping the Y-Force diyisions from Chinese and U.S. contributions. 
Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

102 Stilwell Diary, 18 Apr 43- 

103 Japanese Study 77, pp. 95-97. 



302 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



suffered a blow when the Generalissimo ordered Chen Cheng to return to 
defend his VI War Area. 104 

British Operations and AN A KIM 

In summing up the Calcutta discussions of February with the Arnold- 
Somervell-Dill mission, Wavell said that it was agreed to prepare for the fall 
offensive with all possible speed. His preparations were greatly influenced by 
the failure of his December attempt to seize the Akyab airfields. 105 Wavell had 
wanted to make a quick amphibious seizure of Akyab to forestall Japanese 
reaction, but landing craft were not available, and so he had settled on an over- 
land advance. The scheme was not hopeless, for Wavell's staff correctly esti- 
mated that but two Japanese battalions held the area. Speed in taking it before 
the Japanese could react was essential. Operations were under Eastern Army, 
Lt. Gen. N. M. S. Irwin. 

The Japanese fell back before the advancing 14th Indian Division, and on 
27 December a patrol actually reached the southern tip of the Mayu peninsula 
directly opposite Akyab. Then, an unfortunate delay of ten days for administra- 
tive reasons halted the advance. The pause was fatal, for when the division was 
set to advance again, elements of the Japanese 55th Division had dug in and 
were defending themselves with the accustomed stubborn valor of the Japanese. 
Terrain that might have been taken by marching had to be conquered. 

The effort went on for months, with Indian and British brigades being fed 
into the Arakan district in sequence. Casualties were the only immediate result. 
The Indian and British soldiers could not know it, but their sacrificial courage 
once caused the chief of staff of the 55th Division to urge abandoning the Jap- 
anese foothold on the Mayu Peninsula to safeguard the landing of the main 
body of the 55 th Division on Akyab. He was overruled, and the Japanese com- 
pany garrisoning the key point clung to its defenses. 

While 14th Indian Division was engaged on the Mayu peninsula, to its 
left and rear a battalion of the Japanese 33d Division was completing a long 
march overland from the Irrawaddy valley. Its appearance in the Kaladan valley 
which ran roughly parallel to the coast signaled the beginning of the end. Now 
present in strength, 55th Division began a series of encircling moves which took 
full advantage of the superior experience of its veteran troops and repeatedly 
cut off elements of 14th Indian Division and of 26th Indian Division, which 
replaced the 14th. After successive actions, during which among other reverses 
6th Brigade headquarters was overrun and its commander captured and killed, 
in May, 14th and 26th Divisions were back in their original positions on the 

]04 (1) Ibid. (2) MA (China) Rpt 417, Tai-Heng Fighting, 16 Apr-28 May 43. MID Library. 
( 3 ) Headquarters, USAF, CBI, was not officially informed of the seriousness of the I-chang fighting 
until 11 May 194 V CM-IN 12914, Hearn to Stilwell, 20 May 43. 

105 See Ch. VII Jp. 250| above. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



303 



Indian border. The effort cost 2,500 battle casualties. Sickness took a dreadful 
toll. When the first Arakan campaign was ended, observers agreed that the 
morale of its veterans was badly impaired. 106 

Well to the north of the Arakan, in central Burma, the celebrated British 
soldier, Brigadier Orde Charles Wingate, led an experimental foray into Burma 
from February to June, 1943. Wingate had been sent to Burma at Wavell's 
request during the First Burma Campaign. His varied career had taken him to 
Palestine and Ethiopia, where he had acquired a profound knowledge of guer- 
rilla warfare and an ability to apply the principles of war to novel situations. 
His arrival in Burma had been too late to affect the first campaign, but he did 
perceive the solution to the Japanese tactical system. 

The Japanese encirclement tactics were habitually directed against their 
enemies' lines of communications. They themselves, carrying many of their 
supplies in their packs, depending to a large degree on animal transport, and 
being trained to move swiftly through the jungle, were not road bound like 
the Indian divisions. Since the latter depended heavily on motor transport, the 
road block was a deadly hazard to Indian troops. 

Wingate proposed to form units stripped of all purely formal equipment, 
organized into small columns with a base of fire and a maneuvering element 
and supplied entirely by air. Such units in the jungle would have the mobility 
of ships at sea, and road blocks would hold no terror for them. Indeed, they 
could attack Japanese lines of communications at will. The mission of these 
units, Wingate suggested, would be to spread disorganization behind the Jap- 
anese lines, which could be exploited by pressure from standard infantry divi- 
sions. Obtaining Wavell's approval, Wingate organized his 77th Indian 
Infantry Brigade. Its members were not handpicked. Rather, the brigade was 
made of units then available, 2d Battalion Burma Rifles, 13th Battalion the 
King's Regiment, the 3/2d Gurkha Rifles, and the l42d Commando. If the 
Generalissimo's troops had gone into Burma in March 1943, 77th Brigade 
would have been used to cut the Japanese lines of communications to Myitkyina 
and Lashio. Thus were born the famous Chindits, as they were later nicknamed 
after the legendary guardian of the Burman shrines. 

After the Generalissimo withdrew from the March 1943 operation, the 
ardent Wingate asked for a chance to test his men and theories against the 
Japanese. Wavell agreed, and Wingate's men crossed the Chindwin in seven 
columns on 18 February without opposition to attack the rail line to Myitkyina 
in the Irrawaddy valley. Extensive damage was done to the railway, and 
Wingate resolved to press on across the Irrawaddy, deep into Burma. 

Once across the Irrawaddy, the Chindits' operations went less smoothly, 
and in attempting a return to India the force had to use a prearranged method 
of breaking up into small groups. One of these groups went northward and 

106 (1) Owen, Campaign in Burma, pp. 31-38. (2) Wavell Despatch, January 1 to June 20, 
1943, Supplement to The London Gazette. (3) Japanese Study 89, pp. 5-8. 



304 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



came out via Fort Hertz; another went eastward and emerged at Pao-shan in 
Yunnan. The 77th Brigade had spent four months in Japanese-occupied terri- 
tory. At a cost of about 30 percent casualties it had gained considerable experi- 
ence in the art of making deep penetrations into enemy territory. The force 
had done no damage to the Japanese that bombers could not have done more 
cheaply, but great results were to issue from Wingate's expedition. 107 

On the Allied side, commanders henceforth recognized that units on air 
supply could move in strength in Japanese rear areas. This opened a variety 
of interesting tactical and strategic possibilities. Not only India Command and 
China-Burma-India Theater, but also the Japanese headquarters in Burma, 
Burma Area Army as they now were, studied the operation. In 1942, the Japa- 
nese had concluded that the hills on India's border were impenetrable. Now 
they re-evaluated the problem in the light of Wingate's achievements and con- 
cluded that India could be invaded. They failed to observe that armies in the 
jungle could be supplied by air. 108 

The Arakan failure plus the need to prepare for Anakim led to some drastic 
changes in Wavell's India Command. The officers charged with military train- 
ing and with the immediate conduct of operations in Burma were relieved. 
Halting all activity and training based on the defense of India, Wavell ordered 
concentration of effort on offensive training. The former deputy chief of staff 
for operations became chief of staff of an expeditionary force headquarters, with 
orders to organize his staff and begin training. On 31 March General Sir 
George Giffard assumed command of the new expeditionary force, with orders 
to restore the Rangoon-Lashio line of communications by 1 May 1944. General 
Giffard had commanded in west Africa where he had trained two African divi- 
sions with the thought that they might be used in Burma. When Giffard came 
to India to arrange details of the movement, Wavell, under whom he had 
served in 2d Division at Aldershot in England, offered him the post of army 
commander. 

American observers in India differed in their reaction to these preparations. 
Col. Russell A. Osmun and his American Observer Group in New Delhi, an 
independent body, took a highly favorable view of them. President Roosevelt's 
personal representative in India, Mr. William Phillips, former Under Secretary 
of State, did not. Mr. Phillips was highly critical and reported to the President 
that it was hard to find any sign of an aggressive spirit in India, that the 
authorities seemed to feel their responsibilities ended at the border of Burma. 
General Stilwell agreed with the President's special representative. 109 

107 (1) Wavell Despatch, January 1 to June 20, 1943, Supplement to The London Gazette. (2) 
Wingate's Rpt. Library, Hq Infantry School, Ft. Benning, Ga. 

108 ( 1) Wavell Despatch, January 1 to June 20, 1943, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 
24-28. (2) SEATIC Bull 240, 9 Jul 46, pp. 3-5. MID Library. (3) Japanese Study 89, p. 12. 

109 ( 1) Ltr, Col Osmun to Brig Gen Hayes A. Kroner, Chief of Mil Int Serv, 17 Apr 43. ABC 
337 Trident (May 43) Sec E, A48-224. (2) CM-IN 2540, Ferris to Marshall, 4 Apr 43. (3) 
CM-IN 5915, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Apr 43. (4) CM-IN 11837, Stilwell to Marshall, 23 Mar 43. 
(5) The Memoirs of Cordell Hull, Vol. II, p. 1494. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



305 



India's materiel needs for Anakim, many of which were to be met by lend- 
lease, were set by Wavell's staff as 182,000 tons a month for six months. When 
these figures arrived in Washington they were challenged by the Logistics 
Group, OPD, who believed that the Indian requirements submitted as the bill 
for Anakim were actually those needed to equip the forty-four divisions con- 
templated by India's long-range plan. For example, armored forces on the scale 
of those required for Anakim would need 165 medium tanks and 89 light 
tanks. There were then in India 195 light tanks, 1,320 cruiser tanks, and 315 
infantry tanks, yet Wavell asked for 4,400 long tons more of tanks as a pre- 
requisite to Anakim. Operations Division believed that of the 182,000 tons 
monthly requirement set as a prerequisite for Anakim, 69,000 tons were for 
civilian requirements in India and Ceylon, and the rest were on a scale more 
appropriate to forty-four divisions than to the relatively minor Anakim 
operation. 110 

Somervell's first reaction was that, of the 182,000 tons a month requested, 
88,000 tons were definitely not needed. Then he reconsidered the next week, 
arguing that support of India's civil economy was equitable because of the very 
considerable amounts of reciprocal aid the American forces stationed there 
received, and because the United States was currently maintaining a very high 
standard of civilian living. He also observed that the American practice was to 
support commanders in the full with their requests for equipment even when 
those seemed high. 111 

Acidly, Stilwell compared what Wavell and himself were to receive for their 
parts of Anakim. It worked out to 180,000 tons a month for Wavell and 3,200 
tons for Stilwell (for the Y-Force); an unknown number of tanks for Wavell 
and five for Stilwell; 12,000 trucks for Wavell, 500 for Stilwell; 3,000,000 U.S. 
troops for the European Theater of Operations, 1,000,000 for the Southwest 
Pacific Theater, and for CBI, 3,000.' 12 

Since the 182,000-ton figure was Wavell's prerequisite for Anakim, there 
was the obvious possibility the operation might not be mounted, for in spring 
1943 the German submarine offensive came closest to separating the Old 

110 ( 1) Rad AMMDEL 305, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Apr 43. Item 316, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 
(2) Memo, Maj Gen LeRoy Lutes, Dir of Opns, ASF, for Somervell, 19 May 43, sub: Monthly 
U.S. and UK tonnage for Projected Opns in India; Memo, Chief, Strategy Sec, OPD, for 
Wedemeyer, 17 May 43, sub: Estimate of Tonnage Required for Anakim Opn; Memo, Brig Gen 
Patrick H. Tansey, Chief, Logistics Gp, OPD, for Wedemeyer, 17 May 43, sub: British Reqmts for 
India. ABC 337 Trident (May 43) Sec E, A48-224. 

111 Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 14 May 43, sub: Memo on Monthy Tonnage of Shipping 
Space Required from North Africa and UK for Anakim; Memo, Somervell for Wedemeyer, 23 
May 43, sub: Memo on Shipts Required for Opns in India. ABC 337 Trident (May 43) Sec E, 
A48-224. 

112 In Stilwell Undated Paper 21, Stilwell continued this note by saying that the United States 
and China were to do things "50-50," but that "equip., instr, and i$ and backing equalled plus 
obstruction," that of 324 divisions, 60-odd brigades, and 89 guerrilla units on the Chinese Order 
of Battle, the Generalissimo had been able to spare three for Stilwell. The paper probably belongs 
to the fall of 1943, because of its reference to the 3,000 U.S. combat troops, undoubtedly the 
Galahad Project, or Merrill's Marauders. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. 



306 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



World and the New. With shipping space at a premium, Churchill observed 
in a minute to the British Chiefs of Staff that Anakim had "receded" because 
of the shipping shortage. In accepting an American offer to supply twenty 
ships for Anakim supply accumulation, the British Chiefs of Staff stated ex- 
plicitly that their acceptance implied no commitment to do Anakim, that they 
accepted only because preparations had to be made if Anakim was ever to be 
a fact. 113 

American Preparations in India-Burma 

As of January-April 1943 American preparations in India for Burma's 
reoccupation included continued training of the Chinese Ramgarh troops, air 
defense of the Assam Hump terminals, air harassment of the Japanese in 
Burma, construction of a base at Ledo, construction of the Ledo Road into 
Burma, and provision of medical aid to the Chinese. Training the Chinese at 
Ramgarh proceeded along routine lines. The air effort will be described in 
Chapter IX as one of the factors leading to the decisions on U.S. policy of May 
1943. 

The 45th U.S. Engineer Regiment and the 823d Engineer Aviation Battalion 
were assigned to Ledo in December 1942. With substantial and indispensable 
aid from the British, these troops, Negroes with white officers, prepared the 
warehouse areas' housing, hospitals, and roads necessary for a base area. 
Initially, tea sheds were used for the few supplies on hand. The new ware- 
houses and hutments (the hutments were the famous "bashas") had bamboo 
frameworks with thatched roofs. The only signal facilities at first available were 
the commercial lines and small switchboard linking a few of the more 
prosperous residents of Ledo. 114 

In late December the 823d Engineers took over construction of the Ledo 
Road from the British, in accord with the Wavell-Stilwell agreement of Octo- 
ber 1942 and consistent with Wavell's assigning the north Burma area to 
Stilwell. Between the road builders at Ledo and the Hukawng Valley of Burma 
lay 103 miles through the juncture of the Patkai and Naga Hills. {Map 6) The 
Patkais rise to a peak of 4,500 feet and drop to 700 feet at Shingbwiyang in 
Burma. They were crossed by the Refugee Trail, so called because of the un- 
fortunates who had fled from Burma over its narrow, malarious, and leech- 
ridden stretches. The final report on the Ledo Road described the area as 

. . . mountainous terrain, canyon sections, and narrow terraces along torrential streams. 
This area was unsettled and relatively unexplored. Existing maps were found to be highly 
inaccurate in their portrayal of ground conditions under the 150 feet of vegetation cover. . . . 
The soil is largely clay over a weak sedimentary rock structure broken by innumerable fault 

113 (1) Incl to Memo, Leahy for JCS, 7 Apr 43. Item 63, OPD Exec 10. (2) Memo, Lt Gen 
G. N. Macready, JSM, for Marshall, 13 Apr 43. Item 60, OPD Exec 10. (3) Ltr, Macready to 
Marshall, 20 Apr 43. Case 131, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30. (4) Rad AG 305, Stilwell to Marshall, 
10 Apr 43. Item 316, Blc 1, JWS Personal File. (5) Morison, Rising Sun in the Pacific, p. 344. 

114 SOS in CBI, App. 6, Advance Section No. 3. 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



307 



planes and subject to frequent earth tremors. The total annual rainfall through this mountain 
section amounts to 150 inches but it is concentrated in the monsoon season, May to Septem- 
ber inclusive, and the observed intensity reached 14 inches in 24 hours. 

The temperature was not uniformly hot. There were "periods of penetrating 
cold during the winter months"; the monsoon brought "intense heat." 115 

General Wheeler estimated that 103 miles of an all-weather, one-lane road 
with turnouts could be built to reach Shingbwiyang on the far side of the 
Patkais by June 20. 116 Wavell's engineer-in-chief was rather skeptical, estimat- 
ing that forty-five miles by 1 March 1943 would be the best possible. He could 
not believe that the road could be through Shingbwiyang by 1 May 1943. The 
British engineer also observed that 600 of his own coolies had died in that area 
the April before, suggesting some of the medical hazards Wheeler faced. With 
building the road, Wheeler also assumed responsibility for defending it on 18 
February 1943. 117 

British authority furnished swarms of laborers: Indian Pioneer Units of the 
Indian Army, Indian Tea Association Units organized by the tea planters of 
Assam, Indian State Labor Units contributed by the quasi-independent Indian 
States, the Civilian Transport Corps local tea garden workers, and contract 
labor. "At first these groups were not registered in the Base, and were responsi- 
ble only to various organizations fortunate enough to get their services. It was a 
case of catch-as-catch can. Any organization lucky and quick enough to 'acquire' 
laborers got its work done." These people were used for construction, malaria 
control, widening and clearing the road, and handling supplies. 118 

Construction equipment belonged to the 45th and 823d Engineers, plus 
additional items transferred from the Chinese lend-lease stockpile. By 20 Janu- 
ary construction was on a 24-hour-a-day basis. "The Road head was pushed at 
the expense of access roads, and maintenance operations, for it was deemed 
advisable to make as much forward progress as possible before the monsoon 
rains." 119 The rate was three quarters of a mile a day of all-weather, single-track 
roadway with turnouts. Equipment and spare parts were in short supply, and 
the experience of the Christmas rains suggested that the monsoon would stop 
construction. 

Road construction crossed the Burmese border at 1706 on 28 February 1943, 
about ten months to the day since the fall of Lashio. There was a little cere- 
mony and Col. Ferdinand J. Tate, commanding the 823d Engineer Aviation 
Battalion, fired his pistol as the lead bulldozer lurched into Japanese-held 

u5 (l) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. II, The Ledo Road, pp. 1-9. (2) Rpt, Maj Gen Lewis A. 
Pick, CG, Hq Advance Sec, U.S. Forces, India-Burma Theater, 9 Aug 45, quotation on pp. 5-6. 
Gen Ref Br, OCMH. 

116 Rad Torch A679, Wheeler to Stilwell, 9 Jan 43. Item 163, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 

117 (1) Ltr, Engr-in-Chief, sub: Notes on Ledo Road Project. SNF-84. (2) Ltr, Gen Holcombe, 
Actg CG, SOS USAF CBI, to Somervell, 19 Feb 43. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43. 

118 History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. II, The Ledo Road, p. 11. 



308 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Burma. Protecting the roadhead was a regiment of the Chinese Army in India, 
one day's march ahead of the road builders. 120 

The ceremony, held at mile 43.2 from Ledo,, unknowingly marked what 
was practically the end of forward progress on the road for months to come. 
The roadhead was beyond practical supply distance from the base. Every means 
of supply, from tribal porters to elephants, was tried, but to no avail. The engi- 
neer, medical, and supply personnel that the JCS had directed sent to Stilwell 
back in December 1942 arrived at Ledo in March, but these reinforcements 
were not the solution. By 11 May the monsoon halted all forward progress, 
about forty-seven miles from Ledo. 121 

The medical problem in the border of Assam and Burma had been expected 
to be very serious. Inspecting the area in February, 1943, Col. John M. Tamraz, 
the SOS surgeon, gloomily observed: "I believe the sick rate amongst the Chi- 
nese troops will run into 50-75% and amongst the Americans 20% or more." 
British medical authorities predicted in 1942 that the malaria rate in Assam 
would be 25 percent. Prewar medical experience offered much support for these 
forebodings. Malaria and enteric diseases are the two great sanitary problems 
in the hills. In Burma as a whole there were thought to be some 100,000 cases 
of bacillary dysentery a year. Exclusive of the Shan States, there were 120,904 
deaths ascribed to "fever" in 1939, at least half of them malarial. Rounding out 
the picture, plague was endemic and the contamination of all water had to be 
assumed. 122 

Senior Surgeon (Lt. Col.) Victor H. Haas, of the U.S. Public Health Service, 
who with a number of his colleagues had been sent to Burma before Pearl 
Harbor to aid in building the Yunnan-Burma Railway, became Surgeon, Base 
Section No. 3. The 98th Station Hospital moved to Margherita, Assam, in Jan- 
uary to care for Ledo Road personnel. It was relieved in April by the 20th 
General Hospital. The 98th had done yeoman work in medical rehabilitation 
of the Chinese veterans of the First Burma Campaign, and so was no stranger 
to CBI. With the 20th General Hospital there arrived the 48th and 73d Evacua- 
tion Hospitals, the 151st Medical Battalion, a platoon of the 7th Medical Depot 
Company, and the 1st Veterinary Company (Separate). Due to the competence 
and devotion of medical personnel, the precampaign malaria rate was held to 
1 percent for Americans and 5 percent for Chinese. 123 

While road building and sanitation were going on, guerrilla activity by 
Kachin tribesmen of north Burma, who remained loyal to British rule, was 
annoying the Japanese. General Mutaguchi, commanding the Japanese 18th 

!20 (1) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. II, The Ledo Road, p. 13. (2) Rads RA-68 and T-92, 
Stilwell to Wheeler and Boatner. Item 186, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 
121 History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. II, The Ledo Road, pp. 13-14. 

122 (1) Col Tamraz, Diary entry of 21 Feb 43. Office, Surgeon Gen, Hist Sec. (2) Memo, Handy 
for Marshall, 15 Aug 43, sub: Digest of Cables Reed from Stilwell re Burma Opns. Item 51, OPD 
Exec 10. (3) TB Med 77. Office, Surgeon Gen, Hist Sec. 

12} (1) SOS in CBI, App. 16, Medical Section, pp. 7, 20-21. (2) Memo cited n. 122(2). 



ANAKIM MARKS TIME 



309 



Division, resolved to send small columns to Sumprabum, a British outpost some 
eighty air miles north of Myitkyina, and to the banks of the Tanai River in the 
Hukawng Valley to deal with it. Beyond Sumprabum lay the small post and 
airstrip of Fort Hertz, whose loss would threaten Ledo and the Hump air route. 
On 1 March British civil authority evacuated Sumprabum, and five days later 
the situation was called "serious." The Kachin tribesmen sensibly dispersed 
before the veteran 114th Regiment, and for some anxious days it seemed nothing 
could keep the Japanese from taking Fort Hertz. 124 

On 12 March, Stilwell ordered Chinese reinforcements to the Ledo area to 
meet this Japanese threat. 125 Meanwhile, the other Japanese expedition was 
moving through the Hukawng Valley and soon struck the Indian and Kachin 
garrison at Hkalak Ga, ten miles northwest of Shingbwiyang, screening the 
building of the Ledo Road. There was great excitement; the garrison and the 
U.S. radio team with it burnt its supplies and withdrew. General Wheeler or- 
dered the Seagrave medical unit some miles behind at Tagap Ga, in the Patkai 
Hills, to pack up and be ready to evacuate. The Chinese outposts held firmly at 
Nathkaw south of Tagap Ga, but radio contact with them was lost at the end 
of March. 

The Headquarters, Rear Echelon, then buzzed with excitement and activity 
for the menace seemed progressively greater as the headquarters concerned was 
farther from the scene. Stilwell stepped in to pour some vinegar on the troubled 
waters, and the turmoil subsided when the Japanese fell back from the Tagap 
area and Fort Hertz, never taking Fort Hertz. 

Allied airmen were daily strafing and bombing the trails over which the 
Japanese moved, making their supply situation difficult. Moreover, Wingate's 
1943 expedition was now alarmingly active behind the Japanese in central 
Burma. The Japanese had no units readily available to meet Wingate's men; 
they feared he might be reinforced, and so the Japanese columns were ordered 
back. 126 

North Burma is a vast area in itself, and one Japanese division could not of 
course garrison all of it. Consequently, the Chinese 2d Reserve Division in 
Yunnan, acting on unknown motives or orders, was able to occupy Shatag Ga 
on 24 February and to send a regiment down the Nmai Hka Valley to within 
forty miles of Myitkyina. The Chinese advance was discussed among Stilwell, 
Wavell, and Ferris, but the occasion was not exploited, and the Chinese 
withdrew as quietly as they had entered Burma. 127 

124 SEATIC Bull 247, 22 Apr 47, p. 2; Incl (B) to Naval Ln Off, Rangoon, Conf Rpt 49-46, 
16 May 46. MID Library. 

125 Rad AGWAR 233, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Mar 43. Item 251, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 
126 (1) Gordon S. Seagrave, M.D., Burma Surgeon Returns (New York, 1946), p. 31. (2) G-2 

Rpts, Forward Echelon, Chih Hui Pu, 1, 6, 9, 13, 22 Mar and 20 Apr 43; Sitrep, 2 May 43. North- 
ern Combat Area Command Files, KCRC. (3) Bull and Incl cited n. 124. 

127 Rad AMMDEL 151, Ferris to Stilwell, 1 Mar 43. Item 225, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 



310 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Summary 

Despite the Generalissimo's withdrawal from the spring 1943 campaign, 
Stilwell's hopes of preparing a powerful Chinese force able to play its part in 
breaking the blockade of China were not dashed. Working closely with T. V. 
Soong and General Chen Cheng, he was able to persuade the Chinese to set 
up training centers and begin the organizing of a second Chinese Expeditionary 
Force (or Y-Force as it was commonly known). Logistic preparations in India 
moved slowly, hampered by terrain, weather, and the paucity of available 
resources. The ultimate goal of this activity was the reopening of the line of 
communications from Rangoon to Kunming. 

Meanwhile, the President in Washington was inclining ever more strongly 
to General Chennault's views. In March, he overruled his military advisers, 
telling General Marshall that their views on the diplomacy and strategy of 
coalition war in Asia were in error, that nothing should be asked of the Gen- 
eralissimo in return for American support, and that Chennault should have "his 
chance to do what he believes he can do." The impact of this on activities in 
CBI was not felt immediately, for the President's decision did not affect Hump 
priorities. 



PART THREE 



U.S. AIR POWER GIVEN THE STELLAR 
ROLE IN CHINA THEATER 



CHAPTER IX 



Air Power Rather Than 
Army Reform 

In the months May 1942-April 1943, in compliance with War Department 
and JCS directives, Stilwell busied himself with plans and preparations for 
breaking the blockade of China and reforming the Chinese Army. While re- 
quiring a great deal of effort and preparation by Chinese, British, and Ameri- 
cans, these two projects had one thing in common— their results would not be 
apparent until 1944 if an offensive was actually begun in late 1943. True, the 
long-term consequences of establishing a powerful Chinese Army under the 
Generalissimo were incalculable, but Chennault was claiming significant 
achievements in the present. For example, China Air Task Force with only 
the most meager logistical support claimed that in 1942 it had sunk 49,600 
tons of Japanese shipping and probably had sunk 11,200 tons more. 1 With 
StilwelPs efforts showing nothing to match Chennault's claims, with his most 
trusted adviser pleading Chennault's case, there is little wonder that Roosevelt, 
in a letter to Marshall on 8 March 1943, indicated his willingness to see how 
much Chennault could accomplish with top priority on Hump tonnage. 

In the early months of 1943 Chennault had to base his promises on what 
he had done in 1942, for the failure of the Hump to deliver quantities of sup- 
plies, plus StilwelPs attempt to stockpile munitions to supplement the equip- 
ment of the Y-Force divisions, meant that little reached Chennault, and his 
operations suffered accordingly. His aircraft were badly in need of maintenance 
and no replacements came forward. His supplies of gasoline, ammunition, and 
spare parts were low. Bad weather was a factor. The Chinese Government also 
contributed to Chennault's problems. In the eight months ending February 
1943, 9 percent of all tonnage over the Hump, or 837 tons, was Chinese paper 
currency, engraved in the United States under lend-lease and flown to China. 

1 Probably the air task force sank only 7,000 tons of shipping in 1942, but this could not have 
been known at the time. U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, Air Operations in China— Burma— India, 
World War II (Washington, 1947), page 70, gives China Air Task Force and Fourteenth Air Force 
claims in full and makes no attempt to correct them against Japanese sources. Two other surveys 
of USSBS— Joint Army- Navy Assessment Committee Report, Japanese Naval and Merchant Shipping 
Losses During World War II by All Causes (Washington, 1947), and The War Against Japanese 
Transportation, 1941—1945 (Washington, 1947) —use Japanese sources. 



314 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Chennault, chafing at these restrictions, drew back from the east China bases 
to Yunnan, where he assumed a reluctant defensive. 2 

The Air War Begins Over Burma 

Much better supplied, the Tenth Air Force was correspondingly more 
aggressive. Its mission was threefold: to defend the Hump; to attack Japanese 
communications and supply installations; to support any attempt to retake 
Burma. Twice in the fall of 1942 the Japanese 5 th Air Division had revealed 
itself a dangerous and wily foe. It had attacked the overcrowded Din j an airfield 
on 25, 26, and 28 October, destroying 2 U.S. fighters in the air, and 4 fighters 
and 8 transports on the ground. 3 

In December the Japanese bombed Calcutta, center of the industrial 
complex which largely sustained the Indian war effort. The attack was alarm- 
ingly successful, for 350,000 people fled the city. Had the Japanese persisted in 
strategic bombing of the Calcutta area they might have achieved major results. 
At Jamshedpur, 186 miles from Calcutta, were the great Tata steel mills, pro- 
ducing 800,000 tons a year. One hundred and thirty miles from Calcutta, and 
one hundred miles from the Tata plants, was the Steel Corporation of Bengal, 
with a 238,000-ton capacity. Crippling Calcutta's dock facilities would have 
affected the whole Allied war effort in Asia, for supplies went from them to the 
Assam supply and air bases. 4 

Fortunately for the Allies, 5th Air Division's appreciation of strategic air 
bombing was not shared by Burma Area Army, which insisted that the 5th Air 
Division make tactical air support its primary mission. Moreover, when Ameri- 
can successes in the Solomons in November 1942 alarmed the Japanese, they 
diverted air strength from 5th Air Division. Indeed, Burma tended to be a low- 
priority area for both Japanese and Americans. Handicapped by the policies 
imposed by higher authority, 5th Air Division had to be content with a series of 
nuisance raids on Calcutta in January 1943, which RAF Beaufighters made 
increasingly unprofitable. 5 

2 ( 1 ) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II: IV, The Pacific: Guadalcanal 
to Saltan, August 1942 to July 1944, pp. 518-19, devoted only two pages to these four months. (2) 
Lauchlin Currie told the President that in the eight months ending February 1943, 9 percent of 
Hump tonnage, or 837 tons, was simply paper money flown to China for the Chinese. The Presi- 
dent sent Currie's note to Hopkins for information, and Hopkins in turn sent it to Soong. 
Soong replied that Currie was correctly informed, that approximately 840 tons of money had been 
flown into China, but that the situation called for concern rather than criticism. The Chinese, said 
Soong, were financing the war by issuing paper money, so that prices were 6,000 times higher than 
prewar. "If the Burma campaign is not pushed home this year," wrote Soong, "I am alarmed at the 
consequences." Ltr with Incl, Soong to Hopkins, 12 Apr 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. 

3 (1) History of the India-China Ferry under the Tenth Air Force. USAF Hist Div. (2) SOS in 
CBI, p. 18. (3) CM-IN 2686, Naiden to Marshall, 7 Jul 42. 

4 (1) Geoffrey William Tyson, India Arms for Victory (Allahabad, 1943), pp. 75, 106. (2) 
Japanese Study 94. (3) CM-IN 650, New Delhi to AGWAR, 1 Jan 43. (4) SOS in CBI, pp. 38-39. 

'(l) Japanese Study 94. (2) SEATIC Publication 248, Air Hist Bull, 22 Apr 47, p. 38. MID 
Library. (3) RAF Narrative, The Campaigns in Far East, III, India Command, September 1939 to 
November 1943, p. 370. USAF Hist Div. 



AIR POWER RATHER THAN ARMY REFORM 



315 



The India-based squadrons of the Tenth Air Force entered 1943 with 67 air- 
craft operational— 38 P-40's, 9 B-25's, and 20 B-24's. By agreement with the 
RAF the Tenth Air Force assumed responsibility for missions more than 250 
miles away from the Allied air bases, all of which were flown without fighter 
escort. In addition to constant patrol and reconnaissance activity to protect the 
Assam Hump terminals, the Tenth's fighters gave almost daily ground support 
to the British 4 Corps on the India- Burma border in the Manipur area, where it 
was engaged in patrol and outpost warfare. 

Using long-range fuel tanks, the fighters also attacked rolling stock, water 
tanks, repair shops, and bridges from Myitkyina to south of Katha. Lt. Col. 
John E. Barr found by experiment that the P-40 could stagger into the air with 
a 1,000-pound bomb, which made of the versatile fighter a formidable new 
weapon. The B-24's ranged at will from Bangkok to Rangoon and far out into 
the Andaman Sea to look for Japanese shipping. The medium bombers con- 
centrated on airdromes and rail communications in the Mandalay-Lashio area. 
For most of this period the mediums staged through the RAF base at Agartala. 
Headquarters, Tenth Air Force, was unwilling to occupy Agartala and other 
forward RAF bases because it believed that the Japanese would be able to bomb 
them at will. 6 

However, the inadequacy of the early-warning system was just as obvious 
around the American base at Dinjan. On 23 February the Japanese slipped into 
Assam with 7 bombers and 5 fighters. Scoring surprise, they attacked Dinjan 
from a high altitude but inflicted only minor damage to 1 transport. Two days 
later they came in force with about 45 aircraft. This time the Tenth Air Force 
intercepted with 30 fighters which forced the attackers to jettison their bombs. 
A heavy toll was taken of the Japanese; only 9 were tracked out of the area by 
radar. There were false alarms in the following weeks, but no more attacks. 

The Japanese air reaction in Burma itself was not much more effective. 
Operations there cost the Tenth 4 heavy bombers, 3 mediums, and 1 photo 
reconnaissance craft in the first five months of 1943, a small price for bombers 
operating alone. In that same period the Tenth's strength almost doubled and 
became 61 P-40's, 45 B-24's, and 45 B-25's. 7 

In May 1943 the coming of the monsoon failed to halt Tenth Air Force 
operations, for bomb tonnage delivered on enemy targets in July (750 tons) 
was 70 percent above June, thanks to the Tenth's meteorological experts, who 
became skilled in predicting holes in the overcast over profitable targets. But 
these operations were in a sense routine strategic bombing though the hazards 
of flight and enemy reaction seemed far from routine to the crews. 

6 (1) Obsolescent fighters, inadequate radar, and inadequate air-ground communications sadly 
hampered the RAF until well into 1943. The RAF Narrative cited note 5(3) has a full description 
of this heartbreaking early period. (2) MS, History of the Tenth Air Force Headquarters for the 
Calendar Year, 1942, and from 1 January to 31 May 1943. USAF Hist Div. (3) Brief History of the 
AAF in India and Burma, 1941-43, pp. 63-64. File 825.01, USAF Hist Div. 

7 MS cited n. 6(2). 




AIRCRAFT OF TENTH AIR FORCE, 1942. Above, medium bombers, B-2XS. Note the. 30 
caliber machine gun mounted to protect the ship from enemy craft approaching from below and back 
Below, fighter plane, P-40. 




AIR POWER RATHER THAN ARMY REFORM 



317 



Of future importance was the fact that the British tactical airfield construc- 
tion program was yielding fruit. Medium bombers were now at Kurmitola, east 
of Calcutta and closer to the enemy, suggesting that the safety of forward bases 
was by this time reasonably assured. The Second Troop Carrier Squadron, 
quietly bringing supplies to Allied outposts in the mountains of the Indo- 
Burmese border, and Numbers 31 and 194 RAF Squadrons supporting British 
jungle fighters, were developing techniques of air supply that were to revolu- 
tionize jungle warfare. The RAF and the Tenth Air Force had developed such 
efficiency that bombers could operate in the monsoon. 

The effect of the RAF's and Tenth's strategic bombing on the Japanese from 
April 1942 to May 1943 was small. To cripple a rail system with a small force 
of heavy bombers is difficult, if not impossible. And few other targets of 
strategic importance offered themselves in Burma. 8 

Chiang Promises To Hold East China 

When the President answered the Generalissimo in March 1943 9 he had 
made his support of Chennault and the air arm quite apparent. On 10 April the 
Generalissimo asked President Roosevelt to call Chennault to Washington to 
present the plan that he and the Generalissimo had been discussing. Protesting 
that Chennault was faring no better as commander of the Fourteenth Air Force 
than he had as commander of the China Air Task Force, Soong urged that 
Chennault be recalled to Washington to present his case. 10 

The President must have decided immediately on receipt of the General- 
issimo's 10 April radio to call Chennault back, for Marshall a day or so later 
asked Stilwell for comment on the proposed trip. Stilwell replied that he knew 
nothing of any new Chennault plans, nor did he know why the Generalissimo 
was bypassing him and dealing directly with Chennault. Stilwell suggested that 
the United States tell the Generalissimo that the proposal to recall Chennault 
fitted in well with an American project to bring Stilwell, Bissell, and Chennault 
to Washington to discuss Anakim. 11 

Simultaneously, Marshall wrote to the President: 

The attached message from the Generalissimo creates an embarrassing situation. To call 
in Chennault and ignore Stilwell, which is the probable purpose of the Generalissimo's 
proposal, would create such a definite division of authority in the China Theater as to 
necessitate StilwelPs relief and Chennault's appointment to command of ground and air, 
which so far as I am concerned would be a grave mistake. 

8 (1) Narrative Histories of Tenth Air Force for June-July 1943. USAF Hist Div. (2) USSBS, 
The Effect of Air Action on Japanese Ground Army Logistics (Washington, 1947), p. 170. This survey 
is rather vague on strategic bombing for the 1942-43 period. 

9 See Ch. VIII J pp. 27^-7^>l above. 

1Q (1) CM-IN 5919, Chiang to President, 10 Apr 43. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 217. 
(3) Ltrs, Alsop to Hopkins, 1, 3, 5, 26 Mar 43; Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 24 Mar 43. Bk VII, 
Hopkins Papers. 

11 Rad AMMRAM 3411, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Apr 43. Item 321, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. 



318 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



As a matter of fact we were in process of arranging for Stilwell to come to Washington 
to talk over the Anakim situation. [Marshall then discusses the mechanics of such a 
conference. ] 

Under the circumstances I therefore suggest that the request of the Generalissimo be met 
by including Stilwell and Bissell in the party for a conference here. This would parallel the 
military Pacific conference just completed, and the conference about to occur in London on 
the special subject of Anakim. A draft of such a message is attached. 12 

Since Stilwell's suggestion was in perfect accord with his own proposal to 
the President, Marshall at once put it before Roosevelt. Roosevelt was unwill- 
ing to include General Bissell but did accept the Marshall-Stilwell phrasing, 
and the Generalissimo was answered accordingly. 13 Stilwell at once contacted 
Chennault, who said that he had no new plan and was not aware of what the 
Generalissimo had in mind. The Generalissimo, therefore, was urging the basic 
plan that Chennault had laid before Willkie in October 1942— to destroy the 
Japanese Air Force in China, then attack their shipping and home islands. 
Chennault and Stilwell parted in anger. 14 

Also, bitterness accumulated between Stilwell and his Chinese superior, the 
Generalissimo. In 1942 Stilwell's diaries record flashes of anger, as he relieved 
the tensions of command, but he usually referred to the Chinese leader by 
name or title. And Stilwell made numerous even more disparaging references 
to General Wavell, while the Operations Division and the whole War Depart- 
ment were occasionally viewed with something less than admiration. 15 Stilwell's 
anger increased after the Generalissimo's 8 January refusal to cross the Salween. 
More and more in his diaries he chose to refer to the Chinese leader by the 
code name originally intended for use in radio messages, Peanut. To Stilwell, 
the Nationalist regime appeared a "cesspool" and the Generalissimo simply 
a "figurehead." 16 In speaking to the Generalissimo, Stilwell was invariably 
courteous, if candid, but in his headquarters his caustic wit would flash out, 
and reports of what he had said, with purple additions, would fly back to the 
Chinese leader. 17 

The exchanges between the Generalissimo and the President, renewed 
pressure from Chennault's friends, and the growing personal animosity between 
the Generalissimo and Stilwell immediately preceded a formal bid from the 
Generalissimo, Supreme Commander of China Theater, for a policy rearrange- 

12 Memo, Marshall for President, 12 Apr 43, sub: Generalissimo's Request For Chennault To 
Report to Washington. WDSCA 381 (China), A46-523. 

,} (1) Rad WAR 2498, Marshall to Stilwell, 14 Apr 43; Rad WAR 2500, Roosevelt to Stilwell 
for Chiang, 14 Apr 43. Items 324, 325, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 203. 

,4 (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 203. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 217-18. 

15 As the Operations Division was an organ of the War Department, they cannot be officially 
differentiated. General Stilwell, however, chose to comment on them separately. The Stilwell Papers, 
pp. 120, 152. 

16 In this simple code, the Generalissimo was Peanut; Stilwell was Quarterback.; Madame 
Chiang was Snow White. Members of the National Military Council emerged as one or another 
of Walt Disney's seven dwarfs. See also The Stilwell Papers, pp. 190-91. 

17 Interv with Merrill, 20 Apr 48, Washington; Ltr, Hearn to authors, 16 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 
CBI 1948, 1950. 



AIR POWER RATHER THAN ARMY REFORM 



319 



merit that would change the whole American effort in Asia. Soong gave the 
note to Hopkins for the President on 29 April 1943: 

I am instructed by the Generalissimo that after careful consideration he has concluded 
all resources must be concentrated in the immediate future on launching an air offensive in 
China. Specifically, after weighing the various claims, he now desires thar the entire air trans- 
port tonnage during the months of May, June, and July be devoted to carrying into China 
gasoline and aviation supplies, in order to build up the required reserves for decisive offen- 
sive action. It is the Generalissimo's view that since initiation of the air effort is both most 
urgent and presently feasible and since the ground effort has been deferred until next 
Autumn, military logic demands the requested alteration in schedules. 1 " 

Parenthetically, it must be noted that 6,900 tons of ordnance, and a total of 
about 18,000 tons of all supplies, were to be flown into Yunnan as initial equip- 
ment for the ground offensive of which the Generalissimo spoke and to which 
he had agreed. These supplies were all to have been flown in, distributed, and 
the troops trained in their use by the time the ground dried in late October 
1943- The Generalissimo was proposing to stop the import of these arms com- 
pletely until 1 August. But Chennault would still need supplies after 1 August, 
so the entire amount of Hump tonnage after 1 August could not in turn be 
allotted to the ground forces. Only a tremendous increase in Hump tonnage 
could make up the shortage that the Y-Force would suffer, and only ninety 
days would be left to receive and distribute the weapons and train the Chinese 
in their use. 1 9 

The Generalissimo's note resumed: 

It will be recalled that in past conversations the decision was taken to launch a China 
air offensive at the earliest possible date, and that the only obstacle to prompt action was 
shortage of air transport tonnage for the purpose. Since the existing capacity or the air trans- 
port line is believed to be sufficient to support an air offensive, no obstacle to prompt action 
now appears to remain, It is hoped, therefore, that the small quantities of needed additional 
planes and equipment may be allocated; that the needed supplies may move forward at once, 
and that the offensive may start as soon as preparations for it can be completed. 10 

In this paragraph the Generalissimo thus assured the President that the 
logistics of the proposed air offensive were well in hand. Singling out the "only 
obstacle" he then stated that it no longer "appears to remain." The paragraph 

!a Incl to Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 29 Apr 43. Bk VII. Hopkins Papers. 

19 Between 1 January and 1 October 1943, the Chinese ground forces received 5,541 tons of 
lend-lease, of which 1,5 54 were ordnance for the Y-Force, and 3 ( 987 tons were China Defense 
Supplies for the Chinese arsenal program. This latter was completely under Chinese control; the 
Chinese used it for the general support of their armies. The tonnage given Y-Force directly reflects 
the Generalissimo's request thar Chennault receive the Hon s share. Manifestly this tonnage would 
not have completed the U.S. portion to Y- Force in time for the offensive that the Generalissimo 
was promising the President. Stilwell was completely aware of the fact that the Generalissimo's 
request made equipment of the Y-Force extremely difficult. ( 1 } The Stilwell Papers, p. 204. (2) 
See p. 301, above. (3) Ltr. Lt Col Frank H. Erhart, Pres. Board of Investigation, U.S. Forces. 
China Theater, to CG, U.S. Forces, China Theater, 1 Nov 45, sub: Hump and Hump Tonnage; 
Exhibit "G," sub: Tonnage Delivered to China bv Tvpe of Cargo and Consignee, 42-45. CT 40, 
Dr 4, KCRC. 

10 Incl cited n. IS. 



320 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



would seem to include the eastern line of communications from Kunming to 
Chennault's east China air bases. 

The Generalissimo proceeded to discuss the relationship of the air and 
ground efforts in his China Theater: 

Such a concentration of present resources on the air effort need not, in the Generalissi- 
mo's opinion, interfere with the program of ground action. The question is not whether 
the ground effort is to be finally sacrificed to the air effort, but whether ground supplies or 
air supplies are to be carried into China in the months just ahead. It will be understood that 
after the required reserves for the air offensive have been accumulated, the percentage of air 
transport tonnage into China allocated to aviation supplies can be reduced to the total 
needed merely to maintain the air effort. The capacity or the air transport line into China is 
planned to expand very rapidly; and as this expansion occurs, all needed ground supplies may 
also be carried into China in ample time to be on hand when called for. Indeed, the General- 
issimo believes that the air offensive will not only have great strategic results, in and of 
itself; but also, and perhaps more importantly, will serve as a direct preparation for the 
ground effort by weakening the enemy air strength and attacking his main line of 
communication to the Southward. 

The Generalissimo also wishes me to transmit to you his personal assurance that in the 
event the enemy attempts to interrupt the air offensive by a ground advance on the air bases, 
the advance can be halted by the existing Chinese forces. 

The Generalissimo requested that General Chennault return to the United States to 
acquaint you with the detailed plans for the proposed air offensive. As General Chennault 
has now arrived in the United States he can explain what a relatively small number of planes 
and amount of equipment is needed for this purpose. 21 

The paragraph next to the last in the Generalissimo's message suggests his 
attitude toward his Army, the Japanese, and Stilwell. It implies that the Gen- 
eralissimo was satisfied with his Army as it was. There was no need to rearm, 
reorganize, or retrain it, for the "existing Chinese forces" could stop the Japa- 
nese if they tried to seize Chennault's airfields. If the Chinese were capable of 
stopping up to eleven Japanese divisions, Stilwell's mission of "improving the 
combat efficiency of the Chinese Army" was unnecessary. 

Chennault and Stilwell Present Their Cases 

Between 30 April and 2 May the President interviewed the leading 
personalities in the controversy over the timing of a major U.S. air effort in 
China. It was the eve of the Trident Conference of the President, the Prime 
Minister, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, convened in Washington to discuss 
the problems raised by the victory in North Africa and the approach of the 
date by which, under the Casablanca agreements, a decision would have to be 
reached on Anakim. 

Chennault, as he told Stilwell, had no new plan. On the transport aircraft 
as it flew to Washington he occupied himself in making a new estimate of 
what he would need to carry out the proposals he had laid before Willkie the 

21 Ibid. 



AIR POWER RATHER THAN ARMY REFORM 



321 



previous October. The Fourteenth's commander estimated his requirements 
in tonnage per month, described the strength in aircraft he desired, assigned 
tentative dates to the different phases of his plan, and made an intelligence 
estimate of the Japanese intentions in China. 22 

Chennault's 30 April appraisal of the Japanese plans differed radically from 
that of February. Then, he had warned that a major Japanese drive in China 
was imminent. 23 Actually, China Expeditionary Forces was contemplating only 
the minor Tung-ting Lake affair. 24 Now, in April, Chennault reversed himself 
and stated, "Japan does not desire to fight in China, particularly in the air. . . . 
Since Japan does not desire to fight in the air over China, every effort should 
be exerted to make her fight there." 25 

The Chennault plan in its April 1943 version was closely geared to seasons 
when good flying weather might be expected in east China. Beginning in July 
1943 his fighters would start a two months' attack to wrest air superiority from 
Japan's 3d Air Division. Late in August, the B-25's would move to a new field 
at Kweilin to begin an antishipping campaign along the Yangtze, over 
Haiphong harbor, off Hainan Island, and over coastal ports. During September 
the B-25's would widen their sweeps by covering the Formosa Strait and the 
South China Sea. Strategic bombing of Japanese lines of communications, 
especially the Indochina railways pointing toward Kunming, would follow. 

Then, the B-24's would move to east China to pound Formosa and the 
Shanghai-Nanking-Hankow triangle. By the end of the year, Phase III, the 
bombing of Japan, would get under way. Aircraft requirements for the Chen- 
nault plan were now 75 P-40's, 75 P-51's, 48 B-25's, 35 B-24's, and some photo 
reconnaissance craft. For supply he requested 4,790 tons each month from July 
through September and 7,129 tons monthly thereafter. 26 

Chennault acknowledged the possibility of a powerful Japanese offensive 
to occupy central China but did not think it would be more successful than 
similar efforts in the past. If it was made, he thought, it would have to be in 
such force as seriously to reduce Japanese strength in other theaters outside 
China. The paper in which he presented his plan said nothing about the line 
of communications to his forward air bases, nor did it mention supplying lend- 
lease arms to the Chinese divisions in east China. Chennault's supply require- 
ments would in any event absorb almost all Hump tonnage and, moreover, he 
may have shared the Generalissimo's belief that the "existing Chinese forces" 
could defend the east China airfields. 27 

In conversations with Stimson and Marshall, and in a later letter to 

22 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 217-22. (2) Certified true copy of Chennault's Plan of 
Operations in China, 30 Apr 43, Ltr, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 6 Jul 45. Item 2, Incl II of 
WDCSA 091 China, 15 Aug 45. 

23 See Ch. VIIL lPP. 283-84, H bove. 

24 Japanese Study 77. 

25 Chennault Plan cited n. 22(2). 

26 Ibid. 

27 (1) Ibid. (2) Quotation from Incl to Ltr, citecj n. 18.| 



322 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



Marshall, Chennault filled in the bare bones of his plan and offered his views 
on the war in China. He believed that the Japanese would fight to the end to 
hold the Chinese coastal cities and Formosa, but that they would withdraw 
from the Yangtze valley after the Fourteenth Air Force had destroyed much of 
the river shipping on which they depended for their supply in that area. He 
believed that he could hope to sink 500,000 tons of Japanese shipping in six 
months, after which the Japanese would begin to withdraw from their outlying 
holdings. Chennault told Stimson that he needed only 4,700 tons a month over 
the Hump and Stilwell 1,800 tons more, with which to equip Chinese divi- 
sions. He indicated great skepticism as to the worth of the new Ledo Road. 
Stimson's recollection of what Chennault thought he could do to stop a Japa- 
nese advance on Kunming from Indochina was: "He asserted that they had 
never yet been able to advance more than 100 miles against land obstacles. All 
of their big advances have been made with the support of rivers and railroads." 28 
To Chennault's presentation of his case to Marshall, Stilwell replied: 

What Chennault says about available targets is quite true. The Japs could be done con- 
siderable injury. Just one point about the whole thing and that is, as we found out last spring 
[Chekiang Expedition], any attempt to bomb Japan is going to bring a prompt and violent 
reaction on the ground and somebody has to decide how far we can sting them before that 
reaction appears. The Japanese army could make available for a major campaign in China 
one or a half million men. If we start an air campaign, they may decide they are being hurt 
to the extent it would be advantageous for them to take Chungking and Kunming. If that is 
done, we will have to fold up out there. 

We have to have China to get at Japan. If we are going to bomb Japan, we will have to 
have the China bases. I see no way except by development of a ground force. The solution 
is to build up the Chinese army to the point where they can do the job. That will take con- 
siderable time. It won't be a matter of 30 or 60 divisions. I figure there should be 120. At 
that time the Chinese army, if supplied with proper weapons, can move into central China 
and maybe take a port and then seize these bases and hold them against a very serious Japa- 
nese reaction. If we go and sting them into retaliation before ready, the whole thing will 
fold up. It is, I admit, tempting to take advantage of these targets and hurt them if we can. 
I think that will have to be decided in the higher echelon here. 

We are not prepared to seize the bases we need to bomb Japan. How long are we going 
to wait before we attempt to do it? It depends upon what we can build up in China. The 
Chinese might be able to hold the area outlined by General Chennault with what they have 
plus air support against what there is there now. In the face of an augmented Japanese force 
from Hankow or Canton I doubt if they could. 29 

Then Stilwell and Chennault had their interviews with the President. On 
one major point, Chennault recalled: "I replied [to the President] that if we 
received 10,000 tons of supplies monthly my planes would sink and severely 

28 (1) Quotation from "Notes By SW After Conf At Woodley With Chennault, May 2, 1943." 
Stimson Papers. (2) Conf, CofS, Stilwell, and Chennault, 10:30 A.M., 30 Apr 43. Item 27, Msg 
Bk 9, OPD Exec 8. (3) Chennault's letter to Marshall is an inclosure to a letter, Stilwell to Mar- 
shall, 17 May 1943. WDCSA (China), A45-466. Stilwell saw nothing new in Chennault's letter 
and remarked: "Air coverage over nothing is in my opinion of little value." 

29 Conf cited n. 28(2). 



AIR POWER RATHER THAN ARMY REFORM 



323 



damage more than a million tons of shipping. He banged his fist on the desk 
and chortled, 'If you can sink a million tons, we'll break their backs.' " 30 

The President then approved two objectives for the Fourteenth Air Force. 
They were, "first, to draw into China and there destroy a crippling proportion 
of the enemy's total air strength, and second, to sink a minimum of 500,000 
tons of the enemy's shipping during this summer and autumn by attacking his 
main sea lane along the South China coasts." 31 The President also asked Chen- 
nault to write to him directly outside of military channels. This Chennault did, 
corresponding with the President whenever it was convenient for someone to 
carry a letter back to the United States. Chennault could thus address the Com- 
mander in Chief on military matters without Stilwell's or Marshall's knowledge 
or consent, a singular position for a subordinate commander. A copy of each 
letter went regularly to Hopkins. 32 

Stilwell's presentation of his case, which Marshall had arranged, was not 
effective. As at his first meeting with Stimson in 1942 Stilwell said little in his 
own behalf and slipped into the reserve that came so naturally to him in meet- 
a stranger, even though in this case it was the President and Commander in 
Chief on whose support so much depended. He did present orally the gist of 
a message from the Generalissimo to the President. The Generalissimo and 
the Chinese people, the message ran, could not understand why so few U.S. 
aircraft went to China. The Chinese were discouraged and disheartened. The 
prompt arrival of three fighter groups would immediately restore the situation. 
The Generalissimo feared that the Japanese Navy might sail right up the river 
to Chungking. The three groups of fighters would not only stop the Japanese 
but would enable the Chinese to assume the offensive. If they did not come to 
China, the Army might desert to the Japanese. 33 

Stilwell prepared a memorandum to the President, but the existence of the 
signed original in his papers suggests that he presented the gist of it orally. 

1. My mission is to increase the combat effectiveness of the Chinese Army. We are 
attempting it progressively through (1) The Ramgarh training scheme (three divisions 
and corps troops) (2) The first 30-division plan (troops now in Yunnan, with training 
started at Kunming) and (3) The second 30-division plan (approved by CKS but not yet 
under way). 

2. I consider it of prime importance to continue the program without interruption. 
Unless a strong ground force is developed, we shall be unable to seize and hold bases from 

30 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 22 5-26. General Chennault describes his recollections of 
the interviews at length in this volume. 

31 Ltr, Chennault to President, 5 Sep 43, restates these two points. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. 
"(1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 226. (2) Ltrs, Alsop to Hopkins, 29 May, 2 Jul 43; Ltrs, 

Chennault to President and Hopkins, 5 Sep 43, 26 Jan 44. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. Frequently the 
same returning officer of the Fourteenth Air Force would carry both Alsop' s and Chennault 's letters 
to the President and Hopkins. Alsop's letter of 1 September to Hopkins and Chennault's letter of 
5 September to the President were carried by the same officer. 

J} (1) Msg, Stilwell's hand, Generalissimo to President. SNF-61. (2) Interv with Marshall, 13 
Jul 49. HIS 330.14 CBI 1949. 



324 



STILWELL'S MISSION TO CHINA 



which Japan can be attacked from the air. A continuing flow of supplies to the Y-force is 
necessary to ensure that it will be ready for the Anakim operation. If this flow, which is on 
an extremely modest scale, is interrupted for three months, Chinese participation in Anakim 
will be impossible before January, 1944. 

3. The Chinese show an increasing tendency to neglect their obligation of furnishing 
the man-power which we are to equip and train, and to emphasize the desirability of con- 
fining activity in China to the air area. If the latter course is followed, the effort will be 
entirely American and our arrival at our goal in China— the possession of bombing bases- 
will be indefinitely deferred. We will cause some damage, but it will not be vital to the war 
effort. 

4. The only short-cut to Japan is through China. The Chinese know this and are disposed 
to extract from the situation every advantage possible. Unless we are prepared to accept 
indefinite delay, they must be held to their commitments as fully as we are holding ourselves 
to ours. 

5. I strongly recommend: (a) That CKS be reminded of the reason for our presence in 
China and his agreement to furnish man-power and accept our assistance in training, (b) 
That he be urged to fully support the present training plan and arrangements for the second 
30-division plan, (c) That both the British and the Chinese be held to their commitments 
for the retaking of Burma, as the necessary first step, (d) That the present allotment of 
[Hump] tonnage — 3/8 for aviation, 5/8 for all other needs — remain unchanged, and that 
the air effort be limited to these facilities until after Anakim, when it can be materially in- 
creased without the great risk involved at present, (e) That a statement be made to CKS 
explaining to him that the military channels must be maintained and that no independence 
of any portion of our military establishment {i.e., the Fourteenth Air Force] will be coun- 
tenanced, (f ) That a corps of U.S. troops be made available as soon as possible for future 
operations, (g) That a general strategic plan be prepared and tied in with operations in the 
SWP [Southwest Pacific Area}. 34 

Eighteen months later, Stilwell recalled warning the President that the 
Japanese would react to Chennault's offensive and gave the President's reply 
as: "In a political fight [StilwelPs italics] it's not good tactics to refrain from 
doing something because of something your opponent may do in return." 35 

The President's Decision 

The issue, increasing the combat effectiveness of the Chinese Army or 
approving Chennault's program, was now squarely before the President. In 
making his decision,